The toy bear, that inspired AA Milne’s famous children fictional stories ‘Winnie the Pooh’ turns 90-years-old this month.
Richer than the Queen but with a very little brain, the bear first appeared in Milne’s poem, ‘Teddy Bear’, published in Punch magazine in February, 1924 and later in his children stories.
Pooh was ‘born’ in June 1921 as one of hundreds of identical ‘Alpha’ bears produced at the respected Farnell’s factory in West London.
The author’s wife Daphne bought the 18in-high teddy bear from Harrods for their son Christopher Robin’s first birthday. At first he was called Mr Edward Bear, after the proper form of Teddy. He was renamed after a real bear called Winnie at London Zoo.
In 1925, the Milne family acquired a holiday home in Cotchford Farm, in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, where Milne began to notice the games Robin played with Pooh and started writing about them.
The first book appeared in 1926 and the bear of not-so-little brain became a hero to children the world over. In 1961 Daphne licensed the rights to Disney – and Pooh became an international superstar.
Today, he has his own place on Hollywood’s Pavement Of The Stars and lives in a glass case at the New York Public Library where 750,000 people visit him every year.