Mummified and stuffed animals
The Natural History Museum at the University of Oxford exhibits the mummified remains of a dodo in its collection. The dodo, long extinct, appears in Alice in Wonderland. In Sunderland, it’s claimed that Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” was inspired by a stuffed walrus on display in the city museum.
If film director Tim Burton had wanted to find inspiration in the places where Carroll lived, he would have had to have started at the beginning, just as the White King told Alice to do. More specifically, Tim Burton would have started with the River Thames. It was there that Deacon Dodgson invented a story to entertain the three children who were on the river in a rowing boat. Alice liked the tale so much that she asked him to write it out for her. And so, a legend was born.
Next stop Darlington, an industrial town in the north east of England, in search of the Cheshire Cat is one of the story’s best known characters. The sculptured head of a smiling cat stands in the church of St Peter’s in Croft-on-Tees, Lewis Carroll lived here when his father when his father was rector of the village. And the name of the cat comes from Cheshire, the county where Carroll was born. These days, Daresbury, the village in which he was born, is the location of the Lewis Carroll Centre, which houses a permanent exhibition of the author and academic’s professional work. To see his personal documents and possessions, however, requires a trip to Guildford. In later life, Carroll moved into the family home here, The Chestnuts, to live with his unmarried sisters, and it was in this town where he died and was buried.