Left: still popular after many years - Rupert Bear.
One of Canterbury’s most famous characters is to be recognized when the city’s new Children’s Museum opens its doors on Saturday April 19.
Housed in two specially converted buildings, The Rupert Bear Museum adjoins the city’s museum in the former Poor Priest’s Hospital and is the latest development in the City Council’s ongoing plan to revamp the Museum of Canterbury.
Janice McGuinness, the council’s head of leisure and cultural services, said, “We are keen to mark Canterbury’s wealth of literary connections – and some of the country’s best loved children’s characters, including Rupert and Bagpuss, are very much part of that celebration of story-telling.”
Right: It's not just about bears - Bagpuss creators Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate both live locally, and their characters can also be found here.
Rupert’s creator Mary Tourtell was born in Canterbury and attended the local art college before going on to create the famous little bear for the Daily Express in 1921.
The front window of a 'Rupert Bear Museum' has been created as a room set for passers-by to look in and see Rupert and his parents having tea.
The museum also features some other iconic characters with local connections. Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, both of whom live locally, created Bagpuss and a range of other characters.
The museum is showing the original sets made by Peter for the 1970s television series, complete with the front of widow of Emily’s shop where Bagpuss and his friends came to life for generations of children’s TV audiences.
“These new displays are intended for local people to enjoy, but they also add an extra special reason to visit Canterbury and its museum,” said Janice McGuinness.
Also featured in the revised Museum are education rooms, a gallery for new exhibitions and a museum shop.
With plenty of children’s characters spanning the decades, visitors of all ages are sure to be treated to a feast of children’s story characters.