Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Further travels (some of relevance to the book)

While my husband and I didn't make our trip to the Tower of London only to see the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, it would have been worthwhile to do so. We missed a visit to the exhibit by the Queen that day, which is likely for the best as no doubt we would have seen mostly crowds and not much art.

Each of the 888,246 red ceramic poppies commemorates the death of a British soldier in World War I, and the final poppy was placed on Armistice Day, November 11. Originally scheduled to be taken down on November 12, the poppies will be left in place for an additional week before parts of the exhibit are taken on tour around England.

More information can be found at the British Legion website, and Huffington Post has some lovely photos of the poppies at twilight.

View from the Serpentine Bridge, facing east
into Hyde Park

While I wasn't able to spend quite enough time in London and Bristol to see everything I'd hoped to visit for research purposes--perhaps that was an impossible goal--I certainly made the most of the hours I had.

The Stowaway takes place in 1908, but the famous statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens wasn't erected till 1912, Given the likely reaction of the Captain to its presence, this is probably just as well. But I could hardly visit London without seeing it for myself, could I? The Captain and Vivian do walk through the park and over the Serpentine Bridge as they make their own way through London, so that landmark did qualify as research.

A rare photo of the writer in the wild.

A current modern touch is a plaque with a QR code which a visitor can scan with a smartphone to hear "Peter" talk. While he sounds suspiciously adult, he is every bit as cocky as his literary counterpart.

Peter is of course the star attraction, but fairies and rabbits cluster about the base of the statue, and they deserve attention as well.

Vivian and James have less time to visit the landmarks of London than did I, but their travels do take them past Westminster Abbey and past the Houses of Parliament. Also a certain large clock there is familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie or illustrated book of Peter Pan.

St. Katharine Docks, where the Jolly Roger moors during its time in London, are just beyond Tower Bridge and to the left.

From London we traveled to Bristol. While there are no direct Peter Pan associations to be found in Bristol, the city was the inspiration for the beginning of Treasure Island, which was an influence on J.M. Barrie's book. Also, Wendy Darling was given her first name by Margaret Henley, the daughter of William Ernest Henley--Robert Louis Stephenson's inspiration for the character of Long John Silver, though by all accounts a far more upstanding citizen.

The Llandoger Trow pub is said to have been the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow tavern in Treasure Island.

Bristol Castle has no connection at all to Peter Pan, but it is a beautiful piece of architecture near the city's Floating Harbour on the River Avon.

This weathervane in Bristol does, at least, have a maritime connection.

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