Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

The James Herriot Books

509 of 1173 nominations


The James Herriot Books

Is this an icon?


The James Herriot Books

James Herriot is the pen name of real-life Yorkshire veterinarian, Alf Wight. He practised for over 50 years and never lost his compassionate, no-nonsense attitude to both animals and people, despite his autobiographical books being best-sellers and their dramatisations becoming a mainstay of the TV schedules as All Creatures Great And Small.

The books are wonderfully funny and often very moving, beloved by children and adults alike. Herriot’s pride in his job, local area and neighbours is evident in everything he wrote, and it’s now possible to visit Skeldale House in Thirsk where he lived above his surgery and explore the background to the books yourself.

Although Herriot did not start writing until he was 50, his first book being If Only They Could Talk (1969), the collections of stories chronicle the massive changes in rural English society, agriculture and veterinary practice throughout the 20th century.


Your comments

Brilliant books about life in Yorkshire in the middle of the previous century written with great love and humour. Something you never forget.


The beautiful stories written by Alf Wight, aka James Herriot, describe the experiences of a young vet and the circumstances which led to his practice in Yorkshire. The characters in his books, from Siegfied and Tristan Farnon, his partners, to those of the countless animals he treated, and his wonderful descriptions of the Yorkshire countryside, have fostered a deeper appreciation for "All Things Great and Small" and for the veterinary profession. I sincerely hope this nomination will be considered as representative of what was and is truly great about the British.
Marcie T. Schwengel

The James Herriot books brought Yorkshire to life for me. My husband and I visited the Yorkshire Dales in May 2006 and can't wait to return.
Sue Fahey

View All Comments (2)



My nomination is the garden shed.