Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Elfin Oak


A t the beginning of April I posed some pics of faces carved in trees.

Those interested in looking at that post can do so by clicking on this link:

It inspired friend Steve M to write to me:
Tree carving: an interesting Bytes today Otto. 
Spine Millington, that well known humorist, poet, author, comedian and typing error was very involved in the preservation of an old oak tree somewhere in London (in one of the Royal Parks, I think). If I remember correctly the tree was over 900 years old, called the Elf tree or something similar. Anyway, may God bless his bones, because dear old Spike saved the thing and it is there for us all to enjoy today. Bearing in mind we have a lot of trees of our own, it is a long way to go just to see another one, but this one is indeed, very special. 
Regards always 
Bytologist Steve 
Thanks Steve.

Some facts and pics about the Elfin Oak:
  • The Elfin Oak is the stump of a 900 year old oak tree. It has been carved and painted to look as though it is the home of fairies, elves, gnomes, pixies, imps and small animals.
  • It is located alongside the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.
  • The hollow log was donated by one Lady Fortescu and was moved to Kensington Gardens in 1928 as part of the public improvements program of politician George Lansbury (grandfather of Angela Lansbury). For the next 2 years illustrator Ivor Innes carved the figures of the woodland folk and positioned them within the nooks and hollows of the stump.
  • Ivor’s wife Elsie published a children’s book in 1930, illustrated by Ivor, based on the Elfin Oak. In the book Elsie wrote that:
for centuries now it has been the home of fairies, gnomes, elves, imps, and pixies. In the nooks and crannies they lurk, or peer out of holes and crevices, their natural windows and doorways. It is their hiding-place by day, their revelry place by night, and when the great moon tops the bare branchless tree the Elfin Clans come out to play and frolic in the moonlight.
  • Spike Milligan was strongly devoted to the Elfin Oak and twice led movements for its conservation and restoration, in 1966 and in 1996.
  • The inside cover of Pink Floyd's 1969 album Ummagumma features a picture of David Gilmour in front of the Elfin Oak.
  • It now has heritage listing and is reported to be in excellent condition.

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