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During World War I troops from Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) were being transported to Europe to fight on the front lines. On their way there, lieutenant Harry Colebourn bought a small female black bear cub for $20 from a hunter who had killed its mother. He named her 'Winnipeg', after his hometown of Winnipeg, or 'Winnie' for short.



Winnie became the mascot of an army Brigade but Winnie spent most of her time on loan to the London Zoo during the war.. Colebourn presented the London Zoo with Winnie in December 1919 where it became a popular attraction.









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A.A. Milne saw the bear in the London Zoo and started to write a series of books about Winnie the Pooh, his son Christopher Robin, and their friends at 100-Aker-Wood. These other characters, such as Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Roo were also based on stuffed animals belonging to Christopher Robin. Other characters as Rabbit and Owl were based on animals that lived, just like the swan Pooh, in the surrounding area of Milne's country home Cotchford Farm in Ashdown Forest, Sussex, on which 100-Aker-wood was based.

'Winnie-the-Pooh' was published by Methuen on October 14th, 1926, the verses 'Now We are Six' in 1927, and 'The House at Pooh Corner' in1928. All these books were illustrated in a beautiful way by E.H. Shepard, which made the books even more magical. The Pooh-books became firm favourites with old and young alike and have been translated into almost every known language.

A conservative figure for the total sales of the four Methuen editions (including When We Were Very Young) up to the end of 1996 would be over 20 million copies. These figures do not include sales of the four books published by Dutton in Canada and the States, nor the foreign-language editions printed in more than 25 languages the world over!


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