diamond geezer

 Monday, December 27, 2004

A century of Neverland

100 years ago today, JM Barrie's classic play Peter Pan was performed for the very first time. You know the story (girl meets flying pixie, girl flies off to magical land, girl has lots of adventures with pirates and crocodiles and fairies, girl flies home, girl grows up) but what you may not know is the fascinating background to the story...

Pan timeline
James Barrie is born in Kirriemuir (it's not far from Forfar).
1866 James's elder brother David dies on the eve of his 14th birthday in a freak skating accident.
1894 Barrie marries actress Mary Ansell, an actress in one of his plays. They remain childless.
1897 Barrie meets the Llewelyn Davis brothers in Kensington Garden. He plays with them and tells them stories (not that he was, erm, one of them). On New Year's Eve he meets their mother at a dinner party and subsequently befriends the family.
1901 Barrie goes on a camping holiday with the boys at Black Lake, near Farnham. On his return he writes The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island, the story on which 'Never Never Land' will be based.
1902 Barrie publishes a novel called The Little White Bird, about a childless author who meets a boy called David in Kensington Gardens and tells him stories about a character called Peter Pan.
1904 The play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up premieres at the Duke of York's Theatre in London on December 27. It is a great success. Even the critics applaud at the end when asked to clap if they believe in fairies. "an artfully artless, go-as-you-please play which has all the pretty inconsequence of an imaginative child’s improvisation, all the wild extravagance of a youngster’s dream…" (Illustrated London News)
1906 Barrie publishes the short book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. The book is dedicated "to Sylvia and Arthur Llewelyn Davies and their boys (my boys)".
1907 Arthur dies of cancer, allowing Barrie to grow even closer to his widow and her children.
1909 Feeling rather betrayed by the whole situation, Mary has an affair and divorces her husband.
1910 Sylvia dies of cancer. Barrie becomes guardian to all five Llewelyn Davies children.
1911 Barrie adapts his stage play to write the novel Peter and Wendy, now more usually known as Peter Pan.
1912 "There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning. Down by the little bay, at the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine, they will find a May Day gift from JM Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around. (the Times, 1 May 1912)
1915 Eldest son George Llewelyn Davies is killed in the trenches during World War 1.
1921 Middle son Michael Llewelyn Davies drowns in the Thames while a student at Oxford.
1937 JM Barrie dies, having donated the copyright to Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1929.
1960 Peter Llewelyn Davies, tired of being labelled 'the boy who never grew up', throws himself in front of a train at Sloane Square station.

3 outstanding links
A complete Peter Pan theatrical history (follow Smee's pointing finger)
Randy Constan's gobsmacking Peter Pan fanpage

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream