Ripon Spa Gardens celebrates Lewis Carroll connection with carvings of Alice and friends

Characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland have appeared in a Harrogate park - in the form of chainsaw wood carvings.

The White Rabbit
The White Rabbit

The carvings were commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks Team for Ripon Spa Gardens using the trunks of thinned out cypress trees.

They commissioned Lincoln artist Chainsaw Mick to create the characters, from Carroll’s most famous book, to celebrate Ripon’s connection with the author.

Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Hodgson, visited his father regularly after he became the canon of Ripon Cathedral.

Legend has it that the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland came from the time Carroll spent as a choirboy at the cathedral. He would stare at the cathedral’s animal carvings whilst rehearsing or singing with the choir. 

It is also said that the idea of Alice following White Rabbit down his hole came from the tunnel leading to the cathedral’s underground crypt. 

As well as a very life-like Alice, these garden sculptures include Caterpillar and White Rabbit. 

Harrogate Borough Council’s head of parks and open spaces Patrick Kilburn said:  "We are very proud of Ripon Spa Gardens which has been awarded 14 consecutive Green Flag Awards. They may be small but they are packed with things to do – including an excellent café, beautiful floral arrangements, pitch and putt and a pristine bowling green. 

"I hope we can build on the Lewis Carroll connection to the city and be an attraction for visitors from home and abroad. By the time of his death, Alice had become the most popular children's book in England, and by 1932 it was one of the most popular in the world."  

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