Arthur Dent's house was where Arthur Dent lived before he embarked on his tremendous sojourn across time and space. It was situated on the end of a village named Cottington in the West Country. It was bulldozed at the beginning of the story to make way for a new bypass by the orders of Mr Prosser, against Arthur Dent's will.
Arthur had lived there for three years after moving away from London, where he found life excessively stressful. Later on, he did return to this house for a brief period of time in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
In the first book
The first novel opens with a description of the house. It was said to be situated on a slight rise just over the edge of the village, standing on its own and looking out over a broad spread of West Country farmland. It was made of brick, and looked rather squarish and squattish with four windows on its front. Generally speaking, its proportions were almost entirely unappealing. Arthur had lived in it for about three years, since moving out of London. The kitchen window looked outside the front of the house, which made the bulldozer outside clearly visible.
It was roughly thirty years old when it was bulldozed.
In the television series
The house in the 1981 tv series was a black and white cottage farmhouse, standing in a large area of land and surrounded by fencing and the occasional tree. The front garden was a neat square of grass, and in front of the house was a path, which led to the pub. Inside, his bedroom had low beams on the ceiling, stone walls, and quite garish striped curtains.
The house used as Arthur Dent's house was in Sussex (Balcome, West Sussex). Alan Bell (the series producer/director) spent two months searching around the south of England for the right sort of house before getting lost and discovering exactly what he had been looking for. The owner at the time was Mrs. Stella Elliott, who agreed to let them use her house for the TV show.
This is revealed in the Making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy documentary about the TV series, which also shows that Arthur left a spare key hidden under a frog ornament by his front door. It also shows the kitchen of the house, which was a small, neat space, with white fittings. The bedroom contained a brown armchair, a telephone, framed pictures, a fishbowl, and a bright yellow bedspread.
In the video game
Arthur's bedroom is the first location in the Hitchhiker's video game, released in 1984. It was described as small with a faded carpet and old wallpaper. There was a washbasin, a chair with a tatty dressing gown slung over it and a window with the curtains drawn. Near the exit leading south was a phone.
The Order for Destruction
There were some novelty items included with the purchase of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game, as with most Infocom games. One of these was the Order for Destruction, which placed Arthur Dent's home at 155 Country Lane, Cottington, Cottingshire County, UK, and set the date of the demolition (and thus the game events) on October 4th, 1982.
In the film
Arthur's house in the 2005 film appeared as a fairly normal looking detached house, set alone in the middle of several fields. It was cream coloured, with quite even windows, and plenty of surrounding farmland.
Arthur Dent's house appeared in:
- The Douglas Adams book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- The Douglas Adams book So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
- The first episode of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy television series.
- The sixth episode of the television series, briefly during a recount of events.
- The Primary Phase and Quandary Phase of the radio series
- The Hitchhiker's video game
Notes and references
- From Fit the First of the Primary Phase of the radio series. Also mentioned in one of the novelty items included with the video game.
- All information sourced from Chapter 1, page 9, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, 1979.
- 'The Making of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', 1992, which can be found on Youtube.
- Part one: on the Earth, from the video game, 1984.