EH Shepard and Shalford Mill



There’s wind on the river and wind on the hill . . .
There’s a dark dead water-wheel under the mill!
I saw a fly which had just been drowned-
And I know where a rabbit goes into the ground!

When my children were little I was ever so slightly obsessed with Winnie the Pooh.    With the stories, the poems, the friendships in the stories, and the illustrations.   I have multiple copies of books, a bronze statue from “A Blustery Day”, games, even framed cells from the original films.   The books were all well thumbed and much loved by me and by the children.    There were many visits to the Hundred Acre Wood, in the Ashdown Forest and dreams of one day seeing the original Pooh Bear in New York.

What I never figured though was that the inspiration for E H Shepard’s glorious illustrations to accompany A.A.Milne’s words might be actual places.  And that those places might be just down the road.

We had gone to visit Shalford Mill, owned by the National Trust, when one of the volunteers pointed to a piece of A$ paper pinned to the wall and said “You know this drawing is round the back, right?”.   I didn’t and immediately asked if we might go and take a look.    Getting close enough to see it involves wandering into a neighbour’s garden but we were assured the family living there were very friendly and well used to Pooh fans paying homage to the three arches under the mill.

The drawing accompanied a poem called Come Out With Me, published in Now We Are Six in 1927 and the excerpt above is the second verse.    The picture above is the one I took on Sunday and below is E H Shepard’s illustration


So funny to see an illustration I have often stared at come to life.  And have also looked at the water mill that may be one A A Milne had visited or heard about that then lead him to include it in a poem.


Has that ever happened to you?  Have you come across a place unexpectedly that featured in a drawing or painting you know well?

Do come back tomorrow too as I have more pics and stories from Shalford Mill for Window Wednesday!

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