Reading in the Station

Alice in Wonderland turns 150

Walt Disney made a film of her. Jefferson Airplane wrote a song about her. And now Royal Mail has released a set of stamps in her honour. Alice in Wonderland celebrates her 150th birthday this year and we are still enthralled by her spell – or rather, the spell cast by Lewis Carroll when he wrote the much-loved children’s book in 1865.

The fantasy world of rabbit holes and mad hatters, magic cakes and secret doors, has charmed children and adults over the world and sparked a string of adaptations. But is it just an innocent tale of a child’s dream-like adventure, or is there more to it than at first meets the eye? Since its Victorian genesis, subsequent generations have been eager to pick out hidden meanings and messages. Is it really about drugs? Was the author perhaps less benign than he seemed?


This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s eccentric tale of Alice in Wonderland, with celebrations from exhibitions to walking tours taking place across Great Britain. If you want to let your students know more about Alice’s adventures and the fascinating amusement of this book, here are some useful resources:

Alice walking Tour
Alice Liddell, a College Dean’s daughter, and the city of Oxford are said to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s famous tale. So head here for the fascinating Alice in Wonderland tour led by historian Mark Davies (endorsed by the Lewis Carroll Society). Mark brings the sites and scenes that appear throughout this magical story to life through a guided leisurely stroll. The world famous Alice in Wonderland shop is the perfect place to buy Alice in Wonderland gifts, souvenirs and memorabilia. Situated opposite Christ Church College in Oxford, the home of the real Alice.


Alice Underground
One of the most intriguing events about Alice, the show is a logistical nightmare timed and drilled so that only groups of 14 guests will enter each day. Little ones will be enthralled to visit a land full of Wonder, Mystery and Danger. They will be led down the Rabbit Hole and invited to choose between EAT ME or DRINK ME. The decision whether determines what happens next. That might include a visit to a shisha lounge where a giant puppet caterpillar encourages you to join his insurgent movement against the Queen of Hearts, or a song performed by a mock turtle in a room containing a lake with rain falling from the ceiling.


1865 – 2015: 150 years of the Macmillan Alice
Macmillan has dedicated to Alice in Wonderland a stunning website full of interesting information about the author, the illustrations and the characters in the book together with a useful timeline from the first ever publication of this timeless children’s book.



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