Today is the birthday of British children’s author Alan Alexander Milne (1882 – 1956) the author is best known for his books about Winnie the Pooh and children’s poems. Its also National Winnie the Poooh Day!
Born in Kilburn, London, Milne grew up at Henley House school, a small public school ran by his father. One of his teachers was H. G. Wells (who taught there 1889 – 1890). The young Milne attended Westminsterschool and Trinity College Cambridge, where he studied mathematics. Whilst at Cambridge, he edited and wrote for the student magazine Granta. His collaborated on articles with his brother Kenneth and caught the attention of Punch magazine. Milne went on to be a contributor and later, assistant editor.
He married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1913 and in 1920 Christopher Robin Milne was born. Milne bought Cotchford farm in East Sussex in 1925. He joined the army in World War 1, serving as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. He was discharged on February 14, 1919 . During World War 11 Milne was Captain of the Home Guard in Hartfield Forest Row. In 1952 he had a stroke and had to undergo brain surgery. He retired to his farm an invalid.
Milne published 18 plays and 3 novels and in 1924 produced a collection of children’s poetry called When We Were Very Young, this was illustrated by Punch illustrator E. H. Shepherd. Milne was also a screen writer for the British film industry (founded in 1920). But it is the two Pooh books which Milne is most famous for.
The books feature a boy named Christopher Robin (after Milnes’ son). The characters in the book were inspired by Christopher Robin’s stuffed toys – the most noteworthy being the bear named ‘Winnie the Pooh’. The bear was originally called ‘Edward’ but was renamed ‘Winnie the Pooh’ after a Canadian black bear called ‘Winnie’ (after Winnipeg) used as a military mascot in World War 1 and was left to London Zoo during the war. The ‘Pooh’ comes from a swan of the same name.’
Winnie the Pooh was published in 1926. A second collection of nursery rhymes Now we are Six was published in 1927 and was followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928 and were all illustrated by E. H. Shepherd. For a more in-depth look at this author please look here and this website and there are lots of Pooh related information to be found here