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My visit to Orwell's house in Burma - 70 years after his death

Blog | By John Bowling | Jan 17, 2020

John Bowling in Orwell’s house, Burma. Orwell first grew his pencil moustache in Burma, which he kept for the rest of his life

70 years since George Orwell’s death in 1950, I set off on the road to Mandalay ‘where the flyin’-fishes play’ (the road is actually the Irrawaddy river).

Having enlisted in 1922, Eric Blair was the first and last Old Etonian to join the Indian Imperial Police force.

He was posted to the sleepy town of Katha at the northern end of the Burmese railway, after shooting dead a mad elephant belonging to a prominent timber company in Moulmein, some 700 miles away.

Retracing his journey to Katha, I found several buildings that feature in his book Burmese Days, the tennis court where he played, the club where ‘tepid gin and tonics’ were served and his house – now a museum dedicated to his time in Burma.