Mr Wonka Unpublished: Part 1

Posted by
Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
9:30am, 11th September
Charlie, Museum
Willy Wonka in the Chocolate Room, illustrated by Quentin Blake, from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

To celebrate 50 years of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a rare chance to read unpublished chapters from this iconic story

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published 50 years ago in 1964. But the story as we now know and love it started out very differently – and the idea for it came even earlier in Roald Dahl’s life. 

When he was still at school, Roald Dahl started to write some initial ideas for a story about a fantastic factory in which amazing chocolates and sweets were made. Whilst studying at Repton in the English county of Derbyshire, he and his friends were given trial boxes of chocolates from a well-known local factory to test and feedback their thoughts to the chocolate-makers. This sweet opportunity kick-started Roald Dahl’s life-long interest in the inventing process and the creation of chocolate – and gave him the germ of an idea that several years later became Mr Willy Wonka's amazing Chocolate Factory.

For more about how Roald's experiences at school helped him create the story we now know as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, take a look at this Inventing Room speech, one of the highlights from the Roald Dahl Archive.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charlie in 2014, author Lucy Mangan is going Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory to explore the history of this iconic book and its cultural impact. What's more, this year – published for the first time ever – you can actually read two chapters from those early, unpublished drafts, which are also stored at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre Archive in Roald’s hometown of Great Missenden, Bucks, UK.

Join Vanity Fair on a visit to the Warming Candy Room and hear what Roald Dahl’s biographer Donald Sturrock has to say about the early manuscripts, and head on over to The Guardian to find out what went on in 'The Vanilla Fudge Room'. The chapters also have exclusive new drawings by Roald’s principal illustrator Sir Quentin Blake.

And if you're planning a visit to Great Missenden, you can see the Vanilla Fudge chapter for yourself at the Roald Dahl Museum, written in Roald’s characteristic spiky handwriting upon that famous yellow legal pad paper. Can't make it to the Museum? You can also see extracts from Roald's actual draft of The Warming Candy Room manuscript on

We asked the Roald Dahl Museum’s archivist Rachel White to tell us a little more about these two unpublished chapters – so keep an eye out for some fascinating facts about Vanilla Fudge and Warming Candy, as we serve up some more sweet treats in the run-up to Roald Dahl Day this Saturday...

'The Warming Candy Room', a previously unpublished chapter from an early draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, can be read in full in the October edition of Vanity Fair - available on newsstands in the USA from 11 September, and in the UK from 12 September.

Explore the Chocolate Factory with Lucy Mangan