.’. Elfin the Oak .’.

The Elfin Oak of Kensington Gardens has been added to the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest following a recommendation from English Heritage. It has been listed in Grade II. Announcing the listing of the Oak, Heritage…

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The Elfin Oak of Kensington Gardens has been added to the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest following a recommendation from English Heritage. It has been listed in Grade II.

Announcing the listing of the Oak, Heritage Minister Tony Banks said:

“The Elfin Oak is a wonderful curiosity, loved by Londoners and visitors alike. It also has considerable historic interest. Sculpted by children’s book illustrator Ivor Innes between 1928 and 1930, the Oak belongs firmly to the late Victorian interest in Little People which culminated in J M Barrie’s Peter Pan. The Oak complements the statue of Peter Pan by Sir George Frampton which Barrie erected in 1912. Together, the two sculptures make Kensington Gardens very much the world capital of fairies, gnomes and elves.”

The oak stump came originally from Richmond Park and was thought to be some 800 years old when it was moved to Kensington Gardens in 1928. Over the next two years it was worked on by artist-illustrator Ivor Innes, who covered it with brightly-painted animals, elves and fairies, mostly carved from the oak, others probably fashioned from plaster.

The tree depicts the world of the Little People, of Wookey the witch, with her three jars of health, wealth and happiness; of Huckleberry the gnome, carrying a bag of berries up the Gnomes’ Stairway to the banquet within Bark Hall, of Grumples and Groodles the Elves being woken up by Brownie, Dinkie, Rumplelocks and Hereandthere stealing eggs from the crows’ nest.

Situated next to the children’s playground by Black Lion Gate, the Elfin Oak was installed in 1930 as part of George Lansbury’s inter-war scheme of improvements to public amenities in London.

 

Author: Dani Middleton

I was born in Brazil in 1981 and lived there for 23 years before emigrating to the UK in 2005. I had read about England’s history since a young age however I moved here purely due to the history of London itself. Everything in this city fascinates me; from its parks, pubs and buildings to street names, post boxes and bollards. Watching children “beating the bounds” or the rose ceremony, you can never be tired of London. I love the quirkiness of the little alleys, the secrets of the forgotten architecture and how wonderful it can be to simply turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new world. I have worked in some remarkable places in London: museums, palaces, galleries, archives, even digging for the MoL on the Thames foreshore but I now work for Tower Bridge where, daily, I can see the City from a different point of view. Working for the City, learning its history and stories makes me eager to learn more. London is a flowing, living organism, with the old and new together transforming it every day, but always with its history at your fingertips. One step, an intricate Victorian coal hole; another step, an old Police box; yet another, an office block built seamlessly onto an old roman ruin. I am just a girl, lost in London trying not to find the way out but a way deeper, further inside what makes this city so… special, so… unique, so… me. I am a Londoner.

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