18th January every year is Winnie the Pooh day, the beloved character of so many of us, both young and old. This is the birth date of author A.A Milne, that brought the honey loving bear to life, so it’s of course appropriate to celebrate all things Pooh on this day.
We have read the books, watched the Disney movies and series, but do you know the history of Winnie the Pooh? I myself was aware that Milne had based the stories on his son Christopher Robin and his stuffed toys, but I was very interested to learn why Christopher had named his teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and why it was such a favourite of his.
It turns out that during the first world war there were troops being transported from Winnipeg to Eastern Canada. When the train stopped at White River, Ontario, a vet named Harry Colebourn bought a young bear for $20 from a hunter. He named it Winnipeg after his home town, or Winnie for short. As the bear travelled with them to Britain he became the mascot of the brigade. However, when the troops were posted out to France Colebourn took the bear to London Zoo for a long loan. Winnie was presented to London Zoo in December 1919 where he lived until 1934.
Winnie was a popular animal at the zoo, and it was here that Christopher Robin met him. Christopher took an instant liking to the bear and would often go to visit him at the zoo. This is what inspired him to name his teddy bear Winnie. (The Pooh was added by Milne, inspired by a swan that lived near their house that they had named Pooh).
Winnie the Pooh has captured the hearts of so many people, since it was first published in 1926, making Pooh 91 this year! Walt Disney’s daughters loved the books, inspiring him to bring Pooh to the big screen. By 1996 the Disney franchise had acknowledged that Winnie the Pooh had proven to be more popular than any of their other characters. To this day, the stories have been translated into over 25 languages making it one of the most loved children’s book characters of all time.
So, from all of us at Boolino, we wish you a very happy Winnie the Pooh Day, and hope this inspires our readers to go out and relive the classics, and maybe introduce someone new to the wonder of Pooh.