Sanderson Hotel in London Offers Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

Mad Hatter Tea at SandersonAre you looking for someplace special to take your Valentine this year?  Well, if you happen to live in or near London, the Sanderson Hotel now offers a not inexpensive but very festive-sounding “Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea” including creative baked treats, a “Jelly Wonderland,’ and even custom crockery (which is also available for purchase separately, for you teapot lovers–and you know who you are).

To see a description, menu, and make reservations, click me.

1949 British Film Features Isa Bowman and Petula Clark

Vote for HuggettHere is another missive from one of our most active minions:

“Carroll’s Isa Bowman and ’60s icon Petula Clark? In the same movie!? Yep, Vote for Huggett (1949) featured Isa (then 75), her sisters Nellie and Empsie Bowman, and former child star Petula Clark (17, singing “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree”). Also in the cast were David Tomlinson (George Banks in Mary Poppins), popular screen beauty Diana Dors (18), and Anthony Newley. Based on the radio series Meet the Huggets (1953–61), the movie is now available in a 4-DVD set called The Huggetts Collection, from ITV.”

Isa Bowman of course was one of Lewis Carroll’s closest child friends after Alice, and wrote a book about her visits with him, Lewis Carroll As I Knew Him (and later published under another title, as well).  She had a small role in the first authorized stage production of Alice in London, and played the role of Alice in the revival a few years later.

You can also find the set available from various vendors via Amazon.com.  To see a list, click me.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are considering buying these DVDs, they are encoded for Region 2, so they will not play on standard U.S. DVD players.

Nina Demurova Wins Russia’s Highest Children’s Literature Prize

Nina DemurovaThis just in from one of our mimsiest minions:

“Famed Russian translator of Wonderland and Looking Glass, Nina Mikhailovna Demurova, has been awarded Russia’s highest prize in children’s literature, the 2013 Korney Chukovskii Award, given for “outstanding creative achievements.”

As the “Moscow Evening” newspaper reports, “‘No one has done more for our literature, than Demurova’, said Grigorii Kruzhkov, a well-known poet and translator of The Hunting of the Snark. ‘Thanks to Nina Mikhailovna’s work, I learned about nonsense poetry, the existence of limericks, Edward Lear, and in the end, “The Hunting of the Snark” a recognized model of absurdity.’

Nina Demurova has spoken to the LCSNA three times, in 1990, 1998, and 2001, and most recently wrote the introduction to our 2013 member premium, Sonja in the Kingdom of Wonder.”

Congratulations, Nina!  This recognition is well-deserved, indeed.

World of Alice Author and WWII Codebreaker Mavis Batey Dies at 92

Batey Oxford Book CoverIf you are reading this post, you are likely a Carrollian, and as such, if you know the name Mavis Batey, it is probably because of her books Alice’s Adventures in Oxford (1980), and The World of Alice, published in 1998, the year of the Carroll Centenary at Christ Church College, Oxford.

We regret to report that Mrs. Batey passed away on November 12th at the age of 92.  She was a brilliant and gracious person, and will be missed by many.  But her publications about Alice, and English gardens, are not her only legacy.  In her youth, she was a key part of the British government’s secret Bletchley Park  code breaking team during World War II, and made a number of significant contributions to crucial code breaking efforts (including deciphering the first message from one of the infamous German “Enigma” machines) that helped turn the tide in the war.

To read more about Mrs. Batey’s contributions while at Bletchley Park in the Washington Post, click me.

To read an obituary in The Telegraph with more details about her work at Bletchley, click me.

Kristen Stewart’s Wonderland-Themed Childhood Home For Sale

Curiouser and curiouser.  Even if you don’t follow the gossip columns, or go to the movies, chances are you’ve heard of talented actress Kristen Stewart, star of the megahit Twilight film franchise, as well as Snow White and the Huntsman, among others.  Perhaps that second title should have given us all a hint; it turns out that Ms. Stewart grew up in a fairytale, Wonderland-themed home, complete with a giant chess board by the pool, and several Alice-themed murals.  The home is now on the market due to her parents’ pending divorce; if you have $1.75 Million, you can snap it up for yourself!

To view pictures of the property, click me.

Vintage Promo Clip for Children’s Fairyland Includes Alice as Narrator

If you’re a fan of theme parks, you might enjoy this vintage promotional clip from the early ’60s for Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, CA.  Alice appears as tour guide at around 3:55, and at 9:20 she shows the little Wonderland Carousel.  Staff claim their park inspired Walt Disney to create his own. If nothing else, this clip makes for an interesting cultural time capsule!

Wonderland Style Office Suite in London

Wonderland Office SuiteSpeaking of the visuals from Disney’s two versions of Alice, now an office space in London has incorporated elements of both in a suite of singular rooms.  Want to hold your next meeting down the rabbit hole?  To check out the entertaining images, click me.

Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar Defies UK Smoking Ban

Disney CaterpillarFrom the “You can’t make this stuff up (unless maybe you’re Lewis Carroll)” Department comes this entertaining news item from the UK.  It seems a florist in Blackburn had a wooden figure of the Disney Caterpillar in her store’s window display, complete with a faux hookah.  A local protection officer was walking by the shop, and became concerned that the Caterpillar was breaking the local ordinance against smoking in the workplace.  No, really.  Or that the shopkeeper was actually running an illicit hookah den.  To read the whole silly story and see photos of the Caterpillar caught in the non-act, click me.

Thanks to one of our mimsiest minions for sharing this little gem of a story.  What would Lewis Carroll have said?

New Wonderland Game App From Disney

Whatever you thought of Tim Burton and Linda Woolverton’s film, if you were a fan of the visuals, you might be interested to hear that Disney has a new game app out called Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion.  The app is available from the iTunes store, and you can watch the trailer right here:

If you’ve played this game, leave a comment to tell us all what you think of it!

Historic Hotels Claiming a Carrollian Connection

This site, Nights in the Past, bills itself as “the online guide to historic hotels and accommodation in the UK, Europe and USA.” It lists two establishments claiming associations with our Mr. Dodgson: The Old Deanery in Ripon, Yorkshire, and The Ravensworth Arms in Lamesley.  The first claim is slight (Mr. Dodgon’s father was appointed Canon of Ripon Cathedral at one point, before moving up again shortly thereafter to Archdeacon at Richmond).   As to the Ravensworth Arms, it’s true that Alice Liddell’s father was descended from the Barony of Ravensworth, but there the connections with Mr. Dodgson begin and end as far as we know.  The latter claim, judging by the advertising copy on the Ravensworth Arms’ web site, is based entirely on anonymous “suggestions” that Mr. Dodgson stayed there and even wrote some of a certain book there.  We can only suggest that such claims might well be considered nonsense (and not of the good kind).  Someone should make a list of all the different places claiming that Mr. Dodgson “might have written” some or all of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on their premises.  Impenetrability!