Elfin Oak (Kensington Park)

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elfin oak kensington park

There have been several twentieth-century sightings of fairies in London: Katharine Briggs records a notable example. However, fairy sites are few and far between. Perhaps the most famous is the Elfin Oak in Kensington Gardens, which was created by Cornish artist Ivor Innes in 1928-1930: from a trunk that was almost a thousand years old. In 1997 the tree became a ‘listed building’ and it is now unfortunately but perhaps necessarily caged. The tree was much associated, curiously, with British comedian Spike Milligan who, on two occasions, campaigned for it to be restored. As to ‘real’ fairies Innes claimed that ‘for centuries now it has been the home of fairies, gnomes, elves, imps, and pixies. In the nooks and crannies they lurk, or peer out of holes and crevices, their natural windows and doorways. It is their hiding-places by day, their revelry place by night, and when the great moon tops the bare branchless tree the Elfin Clans come out to play and frolic in the moonlight’ (Innes 1930). So there!

elfen oak close up

The tree has played its part in popular culture, it even appears in the inside cover of the Pink Floyd LP Ummagumma (top left).

ummagumma fairies

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