Nina Lloyd Banning (b. 1903) was one of a family of eleven. Though born in England, she lived all over the world, initially settling in Australia for the sake of her health. She later moved to Honolulu and then California. Her early ambition was to be an artist, but she was unable to complete her training because of illness. She began to write for pleasure, wanting to pass on to children her own deep love of nature, and to encourage them to develop consideration for animals. She had lived near the mining area of Nottinghamshire, and had seen there at first hand the difficult lives the ponies led. She knew of an old cottage on the edge of a forest, and, intrigued by it, she imagined a boy living there, and a pony being born in the nearby meadow. She wanted to contrast the life the pony led before the pit, and the boy’s love for it, with the life they led afterwards. She wrote: 'I had often been told of a wonderful little pony in the pit whose life I gave to mine, or such of it as I knew. This original Rocket unfortunately passed the whole of his life in the mine and died there. Thus the "Pit Pony".'
Nina Lloyd Banning was a published poet. The one collection I have been able to trace, The Grey Goddess and Other Poems (Exposition Press, New York, 1956) was published in America.
Finding the book
Pit Pony appears to have been published originally in America, where it is much easier to find. Pricing is erratic. The British publication is very difficult to find.
Sources and links
Sherwood Forest - a brief history
Thank you to Hannah Fleetwood for the photograph and information on the book, and to Nadia Banning for the information about her great grand aunt.