The iconic bridge, forever associated with A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh books and E.H. Shepard's illustrations, was built around 1907 in Ashdown Forest. A replacement was built in 1999, but the original bridge is now fully restored and coming up for auction on Tuesday, 5th October with an estimate of £40,000 - 60,000. It provides a unique opportunity to buy a piece of literary history in the year Pooh Bear is celebrating his 100th Birthday - he was given to Christopher Robin Milne on his first birthday in 1921.
Constructed as a sturdy river crossing for horses and carts as well as pedestrians in the forest and originally known as Posingford Bridge, it rose to fame when the famous children's author A.A. Milne got his inspiration when his son Christopher Robin played on it as a child in the 1920's and they invented the game of Poohsticks. This then led to several books about Pooh, mentioning the bridge.
The first mention is in The House at Pooh Corner when Pooh accidentally drops a pine cone into a river from a bridge and after watching how it appeared on the other side of the bridge, devises the rules for Poohsticks. It subsequently appeared in later books being played by the other main characters, Christopher Robin, Eeyore and Tigger and was immortalised in E.H. Shepard's illustrations.
This original bridge, made of carved oak, has been restored and reconstructed over the years replicating Shepard's original illustrations and was reopened by Christopher Robin Milne and officially renamed by him as Poohsticks Bridge in 1979.
By 1999 the bridge had become worn and degraded by the countless thousands of visitors and so was replaced with a new bridge built with considerable financial assistance from local groups and the Disney Corporation, whilst the original was dismantled and stored for many years in the Ashdown Forest Centre until recently when local Parish council gave permission for it to be rescued.
It has now been fully restored and reconstructed using local oak for any missing elements with each piece numbered, together with drawings and an analysis, prepared by the council on original/replaced elements. It is now being offered in situ in East Sussex, where viewing is strictly by appointment.
James Rylands, specialist in charge of the auction says: Summers Place Auctions
are delighted to be selling a piece of literary history which has given pleasure over the generations to millions of children around the world