On the unveiling of a new plaque to mark Winnie-the-Pooh’s birthplace, Anoosh Chakelian examines the unlikely story of the bear’s origins.
A rags-to-riches story worthy of Alan Sugar was revealed earlier this month at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the place of Winnie-the-Pooh’s creation in a building tucked away in Acton, West London.
The Farnell factory, which manufactured Britain’s first teddy bears, was Pooh’s unlikely birthplace. Since the factory has since been demolished the plaque has been placed on The Elms, a Georgian house owned by the Farnell family.
The bear was one of a batch produced in 1921 and sent from silk merchant John Kirby Farnell’s factory to Harrods, where Daphne Milne, Christopher Robin’s mother, bought him for her son’s first birthday present.
Pooh spent the rest of his days flitting between the Milnes’ London home and Cotchford Farm in Hartfield, an area in East Sussex that inspired AA Milne’s Enchanted Place, Hundred Acre Wood, the House at Pooh Corner, and Pooh’s other favourite haunts.
Shirley Harrison,who last year wrote a biography of the original toy, The Life and Times of the Real Winnie-the-Pooh, and has lived in Hartfield, has been campaigning for a plaque to be placed somewhere in Pooh’s suburban homeland for years.
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