Arthur Ransome Wiki
"George Owdon (horrid name)..." - Mrs Barrable (CC13)

George Owdon is the enemy(CC5) of The Coot Club. He lives in Horning, with his uncle. He is a bully, and a few years older than the members of The Coot Club.

George is an egg collector: He had much more pocket-money than any of the Coots, but was known to make more still by taking the eggs of rare birds and selling them to a man in Norwich (CC4). Frank Farland ironically refers to Your dear friend George (CC15). George is hostile to the Bird Protection Society.

At the beginning of The Big Six George and his friend Ralph Strakey are strolling along the staithe. One says Interfering young pups in a loud voice and the other replies What business is it of theirs?. Pete says to Joe and Bill Lucky it's not the nesting season and Bill replies George Owdon won't have much of a chance at beardies' eggs next year, nor yet at buttles' (BS1). Later at Mr Farland's home Bill says to Mr Farland Not half the grudge he got against the Coot Club (That birds'-nesting affair). Joe says When he try to get them bitterns, and we fetch keeper just in time (BS32).

At the night eel set with Harry Bangate, he says if I'd had knowed where them nests was, it'd have been money in my pocket and tobacco in my old pipe. But they decide not to argue with Harry; Harry is unlike George Owdon who had plenty of pocket money already without robbing birds (BS3).

George's status as a Norfolk Coot is acknowledged by the Coot Club. A quarrel with George would not matter at all, but a quarrel with foreigners was altogether different (CC6). The treachery by George is unexpected and surprising when it is finally revealed.

George Owdon and his friend strolled past, smoking cigarettes" (BS2). Smoking is acceptable in the books for adults but generally not for children or youths; here an indication of their character.

George Owdon is described as having a rather high voice (BS2) (cf Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy; is this a trait of enemies in literature?)

At the end of BS in "What happened to the Fish", Joe says: Them two ... George Owdon and that other. They go away next morning and we never seen 'em since.

The intruder (George or Ralph?) is pictured at the end of BS18, with William hanging onto his trouser leg. And both are in The Moment picture of the casting-off (BS28).

According to Brogan (Life page 336) on the writing of Coot Club: Thinking of the villain, the treacherous Norfolk Coot, he wrote that George Owdon must never be heard to speak throughout the book (like the G.A. in Swallowdale) but seen.


Arthur Ransome's correspondent (and the inspiration behind Great Northern?), Myles North, suggested George's character be re-activated for a bird-related story set in Kenya. The book never eventuated. (CFT13)


Ralph Strakey