Partner Freda Lingstrom
Chartwell Cottage, Mapleton Rd, Westerham TN16 1PS, UK
Maria Bird (August 24, 1891 - August 25, 1979) was an actress and writer, known for Flower Pot Men (1952), The Woodentops (1955) and Backbeat (1994). She co-created Andy Pandy and The Flower Pot Men with Freda Lingstrom, with whom she lived together in Westerham.
Maria Bird was born Mary Edith Bird (pronounced Marie) on 24 August 1891 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and died in the village where she lived for most of her life, Westerham, Kent, England on 25 August 1979, aged 88. She is a descendant of Francis Bird, the sculptor, and Colonel Christopher Bird, who was Colonial Secretary at Cape Town Castle (who has a famous landmark named after him in Kirstenbosch, South Africa – Colonel Bird's Bath). Her mother brought her children from South Africa to the UK to be educated and Maria attended a Scottish convent. Following school, she studied the Dalcroze Eurhythmics music and dance method under Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in Dessau.
Maria Bird helped found BBC Children's Television with her collaborator and partner Freda Lingstrom with whom she set up Westerham Arts, the production company commissioned by the BBC to produce TV pieces including The Woodentops (1955), Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men (1952) and Andy Pandy (1950). Westerham Arts was based in Chartwell Cottage (owned by Bird and Lingstrom and subsequently bequeathed to the National Trust). It neighbours the Chartwell Estate. Maria and Freda built a shed in their garden where their puppet films were made. In addition to TV production she was a writer, narrator and musician.
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