The importance of Peter Pan to London

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Peter PanThe wonderful children’s tale of Peter Pan is a modern classic and a story intrinsically linked to one of the most popular attractions in the whole of London, Hyde Park in the exclusive district of the City of Westminster.

Created by Scottish novelist and playwright JM Barrie at the turn of the 20th century, Peter Pan is a much-loved character that has touched the lives of countless millions over more than the last 100 years.

Famously linked to the Serpentine Swimming Club’s Christmas morning race, the Peter Pan cup is the Blue Ribbon race for all members that have successfully completed events throughout the year and is open only to those that have been able to qualify.

It is a 100-yard sprint in the chilly waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake and kicks off at 9am sharp. The trophy was presented to the winner of this prestigious annual race by JM Barrie himself every year from 1903 until 1932.

Still happening to this day, members on the handicap list wishing to qualify must compete in at least two of the Swimming Club’s Winter Series races. For those not on the list, they must compete in seven of the eight Winter Series events.

Visitors to the capital keen to witness the spectacle are more than welcome to head along on the day and show their support.

Meanwhile, a statue to the boy that never grew up can be found in Kensington Gardens, having been erected in April 1912 and remaining a popular spot for visitors to congregate to this day.

It is one of seven bronzes that were cast from the same mould and can now be found across the globe, with replicas in Egmont Park in Brussels, Belgium; Bowring Park in Newfoundland and Glenn Gould Park, Toronto, both in Canada; Johnson Park in Camden, New Jersey, the US; Queens Gardens in Perth, Australia; and Sefton Park in Liverpool, also England.

However, the original is found in London, with the statue commissioned by JM Barrie himself and sculpted by George Frampton. It depicts Peter playing the flute atop a whirling mound of creatures from the sea.

 

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