The historic Pooh shop in Hartfield, East Sussex, is on the market.
Established as Pooh Corner in 1978 by it’s current owner Mike Ridley, the 300-year-old property is also home to Piglet’s Tea-Room & Garden, Pooh Corner Mail-Order and The Owl’s House Self Catering Apartment.
Mike Ridley (co-owner with his wife June) met the late Christopher Robin on several occasions. In his definitive booklet, The Official Pooh Corner Rules for Playing Poohsticks, he dedicated his work to Christopher:
“The memories of our all too few meetings will always bring a smile to my face and a glow in my heart,” he says.
Pooh is 90 years old this month as some celebrate his ‘birth’ when he was formed in the Farnell factory in West London. On the shelf at Harrods, bought by A.A.Milne’s wife and Christopher’s mother Daphne – then given by her to little Christopher Robin on his 1st birthday. We at Pooh Corner celebrate his ‘birthday’ as 14th October – the day he was first nationally published in the famous book ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’, illustrated so beautifully by E.H.Shepard, in 1926. So this October he will be, for us, 85.
Mike is 68½ years young and has four grandchildren and one grand-daughter-in-law. He has two pre-war motor cars and with his wife they have four cats. June is a Glass Artist and creates pieces to hang in the house and some to display in the garden. When retired they plan to see much more of their families. Mike’s mum was 101 earlier this month!
“This is a great time to retire.” Mike says, “The sun is shinning and business is on the up and up.”
But what if nobody wants to carry on running Pooh Corner?
“Well, we have had enquiries from people who have other ideas to run a ‘non-Pooh’ business here! They see a lovely Grade 2 building and they notice we do have planning consent for a second residence over the warehouse but we feel sure there is someone out there just itching to take over and trade much as we do now – we hope so.”
Mike has appeared on TV seven times already this year including with John Sergeant on BBC’s The One Show. He was contracted as Winnie-the-Pooh story consultant for the current Disney movie and he and June have their names listed in the credits at the end of the film.
Pooh Fans are anxious about the danger that Pooh Corner might close. They say:
Sue – ‘I know lots of my friends have visited recently as I was talking about my happy days I’ve spent there. I hope the shop is sold as it is and does not change.’
Samantha – ‘You will be missed and when my family visited you we were astounded by the beautiful Pooh Corner you have created.’
Alastair – ‘It was with great surprise and sadness that I read that you are planning to leave Pooh Corner but I am mightily relieved to hear that you are trying to sell it as a going concern.’
Alicia – ‘I hope some really special people buy the place from you and keep it as is.’
Roselina – ‘You had helped put Hartfield onto the tourism map and keep the spirit of Pooh and friends alive!’
Nadine – ‘I hope the next owners keep alive the old Pooh and crew. The ones the stories are all about.’
Cathy – ‘I’m Pooh’s fan from Taiwan, it’s really surprising me that pooh corner is for sale now, will you ask the new owner to keep the lovely shop open? I used visited Pooh Corner at 2008 May. Hartfield is really a lovely & peaceful place.’
Jean – ‘I am scared that whoever buys your property will not be a Pooh lover, and will change everything that we have all come to cherish over the years.’
Karen & Maureen – ‘I only hope that whoever takes your place will run it as you have and make it the enjoyable place it has always been to visit.’
Interested in the sale? There is a dinky micro site with more info at Lawson Commercial: http://www.lawsoncommercial.co.uk/pooh-corner/