Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Peter Pan Statue

Peter Pan statue
Bowring Park, St. John's, NL

Early on Sunday morning I went to Bowring Park in St. John's to take some photos in that light that only the morning can provide. By the duck pond there is a Peter Pan statue which I remember as a child and which is a magnet for every child who sees it. The animals are worn smooth by small hands caressing them - and larger ones too.

There is an interesting story behind the statue which was commissioned by Sir Edgar Rennie Bowring in memory of his grand daughter who died at sea. The plaque reads "In memory of a little girl who loved the Park" and was unveiled on Aug. 29, 1925. The little girl who loved the park was Betty Munn, daughter of John Shannon Munn and Alice May McCowen. Betty and her father were lost in the wreck of the Florizel, a Bowring Brothers ship which was destroyed on the rocks off Cappahayden during a winter's storm on the night of Feb. 23-24, 1918. They were on their way to New York to rendezvous with Betty's mother who was already there. Betty Munn was three and one-half years old.

Bowring Brothers Ltd donated Bowring Park, three miles from downtown St John's, to the people of the city in 1911 in celebration of their 100th year of business in Newfoundland. The Duke of Connaught officially opened it on July 14, 1914. Sir Edgar Rennie Bowring was a businessman, politician and philanthropist, a partner in the family business, Bowring Brothers. Among the firm's interests was shipping and one of their vessels was the Florizel.

The Peter Pan statue was created in 1912 by Sir George Frampton who was commissioned by J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Seven replicas only were cast from the original mould of the Peter Pan statue which is located in London's Kensington Gardens.

Based on J.M. Barrie's immortal character, Peter Pan, this bronze statue features Peter standing on a tree stump playing a flute (supposedly a set of pan pipes) whilst a collection of fairies, rabbits, squirrels and other little creatures adorn the base. The main fairy is believed to be Tinker Bell reaching towards Peter. Frampton described his masterpiece as follows; "The animals and fairies on the statue are listening to the Pipes of Pan, one of the mice is completing his toilet before going up to listen to the music, and the squirrel is discussing political matters with two of the fairies."

The seven statues are located around the world:

1. Kensington Gardens, London, England

2. Sefton Park, Liverpool

3. Egmont Park, Brussels, Belgium

4. Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey

5. Bowring Park, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

6. Glenn Gould Park, Toronto, Canada

7. Queen's Gardens, Perth, Western Australia

3 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

very nice statue, sad story behind it though :/
Its odd that there isn't one in Kirriemuir where Barrie was born. There are 2 peter pan statues but nowhere near as nice as this one. (I can never say this town's name, even after hubby told me to try to say it Kirrie like furry with a K, and mur. My tongue has a hard time combining the 2 :p)

Jeanette said...

Yes, you'd think that would be the obvious place, wouldn't you? I presume Barrie must have resided in London or thought it would have the most 'bang for the buck' there.

Lady Bracknell said...

Thank you: that answers the concerns of my other half who couldn't understand how I had managed to send him photographs of the Peter Pan statue in Sefton Park when the "real" one is in Kensington Gardens!