In 1939, on the eve of World War Two, three school girls Margaret, Mary and Katherine were evacuated from London; their destination was "The Kilns" in Risinghurst, [the home of C.S. Lewis] three miles east of Oxford city centre.
The School Girls, the Dark Lord and the WardrobeThat house was owned by a fellow of Magdalene College, Jack Lewis. Shortly after their arrival, he sketched out a few thoughts in his diary: "This book [the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe] is about four children whose names were Ann, Martin, Rose and Peter. But it is most about Peter who was the youngest. They all had to go away from London suddenly because of Air Raids, and because Father, who was in the Army, had gone off to the War and Mother was doing some kind of war work. They were sent to stay with a kind of relation of Mother's who was a very old professor who lived all by himself in the country".
The high fantasy concept of that book had been forming for over twenty-five years. Because at the age of just sixteen, he had sketched out a mental picture of a faun [Tumnus] "carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood" meeting Lucy, a character he now connected with one of his young guests.
At one desperate impasse when solo efforts to develop the novel were failing abysmally , Lewis had turned to an academic colleague. John Tolkien had also made no progress whatsoever in developing an initially promising concept ("In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit"). Realising that their authoring skills were woefully inferior to their powers of grand envisioning, they embarked about the failed collaborative project The Witch, the Hobbit and the Wardrobe. That was during the early days of the General Strike, a transformative milestone event which would change both of their lives.
Because Tolkien soon drifted off into the fringe of right wing politics. The financial crisis brought him to power as the head of an artistic-political movement. His demagogic leadership was one of the chief reasons why Margaret, Mary and Katherine had been sent out of harm's way before the air raid sirens started. And the glimmer of the spark of an idea for a new central character in the Lewisian imagination: a Dark Lord arising in Narnia.