Remembering Winnie-the-Pooh

Children all over the world celebrated January 18 as ‘Winnie-the-Pooh Day’. It is actually the birthday of AA Milne, the creator of Pooh and all his friends.

 

Born in Kilburn, London, on January 18, 1882, Milne is best remembered for his Pooh books, about a boy named Christopher Robin (which incidentally is also the name of his own son), and characters inspired by his son’s stuffed animals.

Of these the most important is Winnie-the-Pooh, the stuffed bear. The others include Piglet the pig, Tigger the tiger, Eeyore the donkey, and others. The actual setting of the Pooh stories is Ashdown forest.
Christopher Robin’s bear was originally called Edward. But he was renamed Winnie-the-Pooh after a Canadian bear named Winnie who came from Winnipeg. Winnie, brought to England in 1914 by an army officer named Harry Colebourn,  was used as a military mascot in the First World War.

He was left in the London Zoo during the war. The bear was Christopher Robin’s favourite at the zoo, and he often spent time inside the cage playing with Winnie. In fact, that is why Christopher Robin chose to call his own teddy bear Winnie. Winnie is usually a girl’s name but Christopher Robin insisted that his bear was a boy.

Colebourn survived the war and formally presented the London Zoo with Winnie in December, 1919.

Winnie became a popular attraction and lived until 1934.  The name Pooh comes from a swan with the same name. The original Pooh books were illustrated by EH Shepherd.

Here is a scrap from the popular song Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree:
Deep in the hundred acre wood where Christopher Robin plays
You’ll find the enchanted neighborhood of Christopher’s childhood days
A donkey named Eeyore is his friend and Kanga and little Roo
There’s Rabbit and Piglet and there’s Owl but most of all Winnie the Pooh!
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff
He’s Winnie the Pooh

It might interest you to know that Christopher Robin’s own toys are now in a museum in New York.

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