Winnie the bear and Lt. Colebourn Statue

by mpalmer on

This artefact of the month is not in the Library, but stands in London Zoo, close to the War Memorial.

Winnie the bear statue

 

The statue is of the bear Winnie, who was to be immortalised as Winnie the Pooh. The statue was presented to London Zoo by the people of Manitoba through their Government on 19th July 1995.  The plaque reads:

 

Winnie and Lt. Colebourn

by Bill Epp

presented by the people

of Manitoba

unveiled July 1995

 

 

On August 24th 1914, en route to the war in Europe, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn purchased a black bear cub at White River, Ontario, for $20 from a hunter who had killed its mother. He called her Winnie after his home town Winnipeg. Lt. Colebourn took her with him to England, where his regiment, the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade, was in training on Salisbury Plain. The bear became the pet of the soldiers and the mascot of the regiment. She was left at the Zoo for safekeeping on December 9th 1914 by Lt. Colebourn, when his regiment went to fight in France.

Lt. Colebourn’s original intention was to take Winnie back to Canada with him when the war was over; he would often visit her at the Zoo when on leave from the battle zones in France. However, when the war ended, Lt. Colebourn donated Winnie to ZSL London Zoo in appreciation of the care that had been taken of her in those years, and in recognition that Winnie had become a great favourite with visitors.

The author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin frequently came to see Winnie. Milne decided to name his fictional character, Pooh Bear, after her, and so Winnie the Pooh was born.

This ZSL London Zoo record card is for Winnie, the bear that inspired A. A. Milne to create Winnie the Pooh.

Animal record card for Winnie the bear
Animal record card for Winnie the bear

 

Select a blog

Artefact of the month

Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.

Asia Conservation Programme

Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.

B.U.G.S Blog

Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.

ZSL Shop

See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.

Wild About Magazine

Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!

Discovery and Learning in the Field

Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.

Conservation

Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs

Elephantastic!

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.

Tiger conservation

Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.

Videographer Blog

One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.

Wild Science

From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Wildlife Wood Project Cameroon

The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.

Penguin expedition blog

Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica

Amur Leopard

Amur leopard conservation blog

Baby Giraffe Diaries

Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!

Biodiversity and Palm Oil

Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.

Science

Science blogs

Tsaobis Baboon Blog

Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.