As soon as the War was over, Noel found a new home: 51A Elizabeth
Street, near Chester Square and Buckingham Palace Road.
In 1947, her agent suggested that she might go to America to
do research for a book with a film background. After the hardships
of England during the war, Noel delighted in the beauties of California.
She attended the studios where a film of The Secret Garden
was being made, and was impressed by the professionalism of the
child star, Margaret O'Brien. This research formed the basis of
By the end of the War, Noel's close friendship with Daphne Ionides
had faded, leaving a gap in her life. However, in the late 1940s
this was replaced by a new friendship - Margot Grey. Margot owned
a house on the coast, and they "arranged that Margot should
live at 51A Elizabeth Street during the winter, and Noel would
be free to stay at Hythe as much as she wished during the summer"
(Bull, 1984:197). With
Margot, Noel was also able to fulfil one of her long held desires.
She had always loved dogs, but with the amount of travelling she
did, she had not been able to own one. Now she was able to share
one with Margot, who would be able to look after him when she
was away. Together, they bought a black miniature poodle, Pierre.
Noel became increasingly concerned by the mediocre quality of
most children's books, and in 1949 she began delivering lectures,
and writing reviews and articles, on the subject. Unlike the lectures
she had been invited to give after the publication of Ballet
Shoes, Noel had now conducted extensive research in to
the subject. She was far better informed than in the 1930s, when
she had relied largely on the books she remembered reading as
a child. She felt very strongly that books "were like doors,
opening onto different worlds. It was vital for children that
the worlds should be beautiful, truthful, and, in the best sense,
magical" (Bull, 1984:193).
Children, she felt, were being let down by publishers, reviewers
and bookshop owners, who provided no guidance on distinguishing
the good books from the poor ones.
In 1949, Noel expanded her children's writing into a new medium
- radio. Ballet
Shoes had been dramatised and broadcast in 1947, and
Noel had approached May Jenkin, the Head of Children's Hour, and
said that she would like to write something specifically for the
radio, about a totally ordinary family. The six-part Bell
Family serials ran every year from 1949 to 1953, and
were frequently voted top play of the year.