The legacy of Peter Pan

This day in London’s history: on 6th November 1897 Peter Pan opened at the Empire Theater in New York. The connection with London? Barrie moved here in 1885 when he was 25 and his literary career developed here.

There is a statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, where Barrie met the Llewelyn Davies family; he developed the character of Peter Pan to amuse George and Jack, two of the five young brothers. Barrie remained friends with the family – the story of this relationship was made into a movie in 2004, starring Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp.

Peter Pan Kensington Gdns

Barrie gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, which receives royalties every time a production of the play is put on, as well as from the sale of Peter Pan books and other products. (Coincidentally, Johnny Depp was said to have given one million pounds to the hospital when it saved the life of his daughter whose kidneys had failed following a bout of e coli.)

There is a statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which was supposed to have been modelled upon old photographs of Michael, another young Llewelyn Davies, dressed as the character. However, a different child posed for the sculptor, and Barrie was disappointed with the statue.

There is a Blue Plaque at 100 Bayswater Road, where Barrie lived.

Paddington: 100 Bayswater Road
Photo courtesy of Open Plaques

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