Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull on show in London

Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull

From the Royal College of Surgeons in London, England:

Real Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull displayed at the Royal College of Surgeons

20 November 2015

Winnie-the-Pooh fans will have an opportunity to see the skull of the bear that inspired the much-loved character in A.A. Milne’s stories, at the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum.

Milne, who wrote one of the most popular collections of children’s stories: Winnie-the-Pooh and later The House at Pooh Corner, was a regular visitor to London Zoo. His son, Christopher, named his teddy bear Winnie after a Canadian black bear who lived in the zoo. Named Winnipeg, and Winnie for short, she was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

This video from London days about itself:

The bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

18 January 2014

Ever wondered how Winnie-the-Pooh got his name? This is the story of Winnie the bear, who arrived at ZSL London Zoo a hundred years ago and who inspired AA Milne‘s iconic honey-loving character.

The RCS article continues:

Visitors to the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum in London will be able to see Winnie’s skull and learn more about her.

Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“Winnie-the-Pooh remains one of the most popular children’s stories ever since Pooh Bear was brought to life on the pages of A.A Milne’s book in 1926.

“Children and adults who visit the Hunterian Museum will now have an opportunity to learn about the real Winnie and how she inspired A.A. Milne.

“Her story and presence in our collection are a reminder of how learning about animal health can enhance our understanding and care for species around the world.”

Soldier and trained vet, Captain Harry Colebourn bought Winnie when she was a bear cub, and he was en route to fight in the First World War. He had enlisted to look after the cavalry units and named her Winnipeg after his home city in Manitoba, Canada.

Cpt Colebourn’s regiment travelled to Europe at the beginning of the war and he brought Winnie as their mascot while they trained on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When the regiment was deployed to fight in France in 1914, he left Winnie at London Zoo.

Winnie lived through the war and was visited by A.A. Milne and his son Christopher. Photographs from this time show that Christopher was allowed in Winnie’s enclosure at the zoo. After the war, Cpt Colebourn donated Winnie to London Zoo, where she remained a popular attraction until she died of old age in May 1934.

During a recent review of the RCS’s collections, curators identified Winnie’s skull and the story of this treasured bear. Documents show that when Winnie died at the zoo, her skull was donated to Sir James Frank Colyer (1866-1954) the then curator of the Odontological Museum, which was part of the RCS collections. A dental surgeon, he was the first to report on dental variations and diseases in bears. He analysed a number of animal skulls from the Zoological Society of London to compile his comprehensive book on dental disease in animals (Colyer 1936. Variations and diseases of the teeth of animals).

At the time, Colyer noted in Winnie’s skull the loss of teeth, thickening of the alveolar process and sockets filled with bone. He associated this with Winnie’s extremely old age and her food habits. Recent examination of the skull shows that Winnie suffered from chronic periodontitis (an inflammation and/or loss of connective tissues supporting or surrounding the teeth). Colyer’s book, and the skulls featured in it (including Winnie’s), have now become valuable research specimens for biologists and zoo vets who need to treat captive animals for dental diseases.

See also here.

3 thoughts on “Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull on show in London

  1. Pingback: Wells’s Time Machine on stage | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Friday 29th
    posted by Morning Star in Arts

    Goodbye Christopher Robin (12A)

    Directed by Simon Curtis


    Growing up in the very British colony of Kenya, I became as familiar with the eminently English Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet as with such native fauna as giraffes and hyenas.

    Now, thanks to a sharp, moving screenplay (Frank Cottrell Boyce, Simon Vaughan), impeccable casting headed by Domhnall Gleeson as shell-shocked WWI veteran AA Milne and Will Tilston as his six-year-old son Christopher Robin and Simon Curtis’ sensitive direction, the story of creation of the legendary magical world of Winnie The Pooh comes to superb screen life.

    Wartime has left Milne, now thrown off balance by sudden noises and unable to write comedies, moving rural Sussex to write a book excoriating war’s bloody pointlessness.

    “I have had enough of making people laugh,” he says, “I want to make them see.” But as he and Christopher Robin slowly bond, the anti-war volume is abandoned for the creation of the magical world of Winnie the Pooh and his toy-inspired pals.

    Happily, father and son don’t connect improbably in true Hollywood style while creating Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eyeore in the charming Sussex countryside, where the boy’s beloved nanny Kelly McDonald gives him the love his selfish mother Daphne (Margot Robbie) never does.

    The books are a success. Winnie and Co become world famous. But sadly Christopher Robin is cruelly exploited to sell books, appearing at toy shops, book-selling parties and risking his life being photographed with a huge bear in London Zoo and, inevitably, become alienated from his father.

    And later, bullying at boarding school makes the lad’s life miserable enough to have him happily enlisting for WWII service.

    Picture perfect performances, a beautiful, moving, properly acid, always impeccably told fact-based film add up to one of the most enjoyable, compelling and ultimately inspiring stories you could hope to see.

    Alan Frank


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.