The brochure sent out to prospective guests at the time of Fleming's visit is Enton Hall: A Residential Clinic and Health Farm Devoted to the Renewal and Preservation of Health by Natural Biological Methods. It is undated, but a copy I managed to acquire includes a price list dated October 1963. It was almost certainly unchanged from the brochure issued in 1956. Ann Fleming mentions the brochure in a letter to Evelyn Waugh dated 13 January 1956, noting that while the dining room looked melancholy, she was encouraged by the plates, which were heaped with food. The plates were still there in the brochure issued in 1963.
In Thunderball, James Bond arrives at Shrublands in a taxi. As stated in the brochure, Enton Hall similarly sent taxis to collect guests from the local station, and no doubt Fleming used this service. We know from Bond's earlier conversation with Miss Moneypenny that he's staying in the Myrtle room in the Annexe. Enton Hall also had rooms in an annexe (the Oak House), and the charge for these was 22 guineas a week (about £23), a figure very close to the 'twenty quid' for a week's stay that Bond's taxi driver mentions. As Bond enters the grounds of Shrublands, he passes an “imposing, mock-battlemented entrance”, a description that applies equally well to the gateway of Enton Hall.
|Enton Hall gateway|
Bond's taxi continues round the gravel drive to the front of the main house, a “red-brick Victorian monstrosity”, where the sun-parlour and terraced lawn are situated. Again the description matches Enton Hall, a red-brick Victorian building with a sun-lounge and south-facing lawn at the front.
|Enton Hall: front of building|
Walking around Enton Hall, he notices that his fellow guests wear “unattractive quilted dressing-gowns.” This no doubt reflects the rules of the clinic; at Enton Hall, the brochure instructed patients to bring a warm dressing gown, as patients were not to dress fully until after consultation and treatment. Alas the brochure does not show 'the rack', the motorized traction table to which Bond is grievously subjected, but we do see a photograph of the 'Gentlemen's treatment room' (and staff wearing short-sleeved 'smock-like' coats), which, just like the gentlemen's treatment room at Shrublands, was divided into compartments by plastic curtains.
|Enton Hall: Gentlemen's treatment rooms|
Before Bond faces 'the rack', though, he enjoys 'dinner' (hot vegetable soup in a mug) in the sun-parlour at a “little café table near the windows overlooking the dark lawn.” If an illustrated version of Thunderball were ever produced, then the illustrator could do no better than reproduce the image in the brochure captioned 'View from sun lounge'. The photograph, showing two men at a little café table at the window overlooking the lawn, precisely illustrates Fleming's description, which was almost certainly written with Enton Hall in mind.
|Enton Hall: The sun lounge|
Amory, M (ed.), 1985, The Letters of Ann Fleming, Collins Harvill
Lycett, A, 1995, Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond, Turner
Photographs by Enton Hall Ltd