Arthur Ransome Trust

Putting Ransome on the Map

Pigeon Post

Background to Pigeon Post

Ransome returned to the Lake Country for his sixth Swallows and Amazons novel. He took expert advice on mining from Oscar Gnospellius, Barbara Collingwood’s husband, and used it to craft a novel about the Swallows, Amazons and D’s prospecting for gold.

He began writing in March, 1934, but progress was delayed first by the Ransomes moving house, from Low Ludderburn to Suffolk, and then by Ransome drawing a set of illustrations for Swallowdale, to replace the original drawings supplied by Clifford Webb. This meant that he missed the pre-Christmas publication deadline in 1935, much to Cape’s consternation.

Ransome wrote a second draft in the summer of 1936. Despite Egvenia’s encouragement – she told him it “is not very much worse than the worst of the others” – he persisted with revisions until he’d completed his manuscript in late August. At the same time he had to complete the full set of illustrations for the book.

The Carnegie medal

Despite Evgenia’s opinion, Pigeon Post won the first Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature. Arthur Ransome received it from his friend, the Archbishop of York, in Scarborough, in 1937. The medal itself is dated 1936, reflecting Pigeon Post’s publication date.


The Swallows, Amazons and D’s go prospecting for gold in the Lakeland fells, where they face the dangers of drought and disused mine workings, together with the sinister presence of a rival prospector.

First publication

Published by Jonathan Cape in November, 1936


  • In Print
  • Jonathan Cape (hb) ISBN 978-0224021241
  • Vintage (pb) ISBN 978-0099582540
  • Red Fox (pb) ISBN 978-0099427193
  • E-book: Random House Digital Editions
  • Audiobook:
  • Abridged Audiobook: Gabriel Woolf

Ransome's drawing of two flags, used in Pigeon Post, our swallows and amazons series logo

‘Gold,’ she said. ‘Dick’s a geologist and Nancy’s turned him on to reading all of Captain Flint’s mining books, and tomorrow we’re going right inside Kanchenjunga to talk to Slater Bob…’


Also in Swallows & Amazons Series

Continue exploring Ransome’s bibliography:

Ransome's drawing of two children discovering a cave, our discover ransome logoRansome's drawing of a wooden hut in snow, our bibliography logoRansome's drawing of a dog on weighing scales, our books by ransome logoRansome's drawing of two flags, our swallows and amazons series logoRansome's drawing of a parrot, our story telling logoRansome's drawing of a hand holding a candle, our literary criticism logoRansome's drawing of two children in a boat, our sailing literature logoRansome's drawing of a cormorant eating a fish, our fishing literature logoRansome's drawing of a crucible held in iron bars, our political literature logoRansome's drawing of a pestle and mortar, our essay collections logoRansome's drawing of an armadillo, our world about him logoRansome's drawing of three pigeons, our autobiography logo