Bagpuss and Rupert Bear
Revisit childhood with the original film props for Bagpuss, the Clangers, the Pogles, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog.
All these characters featured in films by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, who both came to live near Canterbury and began collaborating in 1958. Their Smallfilms animations were made using stop-go technology. Oliver Postgate wrote the stories, produced the films and animated the characters, which were made by Peter Firmin and his wife Joan. Many of the programmes were filmed in Firmin’s barn in Blean, just outside Canterbury.
You can also meet Rupert Bear and his Canterbury creator Mary Tourtel in fun-packed displays. These include original illustrations by Tourtel and her successor, Albert Bestall, as well as memorabilia and images of the latest animated Rupert Bear.
Mary Tourtel, who was born in Canterbury and studied art here, was asked by the Daily Express to invent a children’s character for the newspaper, to match those of rival press. Her creation, Rupert Bear, first appeared in the Daily Express on Monday 8 November 1920 in a single frame illustration to the story of ‘Little Lost Bear’, which continued daily. Tourtel illustrated and wrote Rupert stories until 1935, after which Albert Bestall continued the strip cartoons. He became known in particular for elaborate end-paper illustrations to Rupert annuals, a number of which are on display at Canterbury Heritage Museum.
The original Bagpuss with mice, elephant and ballerina. © Canterbury Museums and Galleries collection.