PETER PAN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS – Here at Balladeer’s Blog I like to cover neglected items, even when it comes to popular subjects like Peter Pan. Before the figure became established in the public consciousness as the leader of the Lost Boys in Neverland, J.M. Barrie presented Peter in a very different form.
Six chapters of Barrie’s 1902 work The Little White Bird were devoted to his original concept for Peter Pan and presented his lair as London’s Kensington Gardens rather than Neverland. Instead of the dog Nana there was the dog Porthos, and instead of Wendy Darling there was Maimie Mannering, but still with the kiss/ thimble bit of business.
This was followed by the 1904 stage play about Peter Pan, which established the more well-known lore regarding the character. In 1906, the six chapters from The Little White Bird were published in a separate book as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. That was followed by the 1911 novelized version of the 1904 play, with the novel adding some finishing touches to Peter Pan lore.
J.M. Barrie invented a detailed mythology for this first rendition of his renowned figure. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens tells us that babies are hatched from eggs laid by birds on the island in Serpentine Lake inside Kensington Gardens. Within a very short time Solomon Caw, a crow who is the leader of all the birds in the Gardens, delivers those baby birds destined to become children to the mothers who wrote to him requesting them. Continue reading