So what did happen to Christopher Robin once the Winnie-the-Pooh books became
international bestsellers? Sadly, according to our speaker Gilly Halcrow, all did not turn out well as Christopher Robin left childhood behind. The idyll described by A.A. Milne of days spent looking for heffalumps in the Forest crashed against the reality of bullies and over ambitious expectations.
Winnie-the-Pooh (originally called Edward) was bought for Christopher Robin from Harrods for his first Birthday. He was a 15” Barbell Bear and cost 10 shillings and 6 pennies. As Christopher Robin grew his father created the wonderful stories about his son, his bear and the friends of bear which were published when Christopher Robin was seven years old. All was good at this point, Christopher Robin enjoyed his celebrity and the his father enjoyed his success.
But, then Christopher Robin went to prep school, where he was bullied and belittled for being part of a children’s book. This did not stop when he subsequently moved to Stowe, his senior school. His fame was an empty fame that gave him no pleasure. He did his National Service and then tried unsuccessfully to have a writing career - in the footsteps of his Father. Much to his parent’s disappointment writing was not for him. He finally achieved peace on marrying his first cousin Leslie and settling in Dartmouth running a bookshop. By this time he was somewhat estranged from his parents and after his father’s death in 1956, he only saw his Mother once in the remaining 15 years of his life.
Certainly the books did not bring Christopher Robin much joy, although they have given many others in many countries much enchantment. I am so glad we have them!