The plot thickens....

What do Christopher Robins and Agatha Christie have in common?

Answer: They both have famous historical stories linked to Shere. Fast forward to the present day and the spirits of A.A. Milne and Agatha Christie will visit Shere once again via their famous character creations, Winnie the Pooh and Hercule Poirot.

Goodbye Christopher Robin
– showing on Sunday, March 18th, 2018 at 8pm

Fascinating history & the link to Shere

Picture the scene….it was a beautiful sunny day in September 1887 and the Shere Fire Brigade were playing cricket against a rather strange team called the Allahakbarries in Albury. The team was captained by J.M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan) 
and it was the first cricket match that the Allahakbarries had ever played. In fact, when the team arrived at Waterloo station on their way to Shere, one player was dressed in his pyjamas and another admitted that they didn’t know which side of the bat to hit the ball with.

shere albury fire middle streetsm

(Shere and Albury Fire Brigade - Middle Street - late 1880's. Source: Tristan Greatex

The Allahakbarries were defeated by Shere, by about 60 runs, which Barrie later blamed on the ‘horribly competent left-hander who at once set about smiting the bowling." It is thought that Barrie was referring to the landlord of the White Horse Inn, Dickie Askew. The team later dined at the White Horse in what was a raucous evening.

That first match was the beginning of a series of matches against the Shere XI's which led to the villagers raising £600 to buy the Recreation Ground from the Fraser-Lomax family who lived in Netley House. Barrie began to recruit more cricketers to join the Allahakbarries. One notable player was Arthur Conan Doyle who created the Sherlock Holmes character, and A.A. Milne, who was the inspiration behind the beloved bear Winnie the Pooh. Barrie crowned Milne as the 'last member' of the team in 1910 but unfortunately, he only played one game for the Allahakbarries in 1913 before the team was disbanded.

However, A.A. Milne’s passion for cricket continued to thrive and his love of the sport inspired his son’s name. After his birth, Milne and his wife Daphne struggled to choose a name for their son which they both liked. Eventually, they chose to call him Christopher Robin because Milne wanted his son to have two initials rather than one because he wanted him to play cricket for England like C.B. Fry and W.G. Grace.

Christopher Robin’s toys subsequently became A.A. Milne’s inspiration for Winnie the Pooh and his lovable friends, and the first collection of stories was published in 1926. The books were illustrated by E.H. Shephard who moved to Shamley Green in 1904 where he lived for over 50 years in the Red Cottage, which still stands today. Many of his drawings were inspired by the local countryside.

Local resident and loyal Shere Village Cinema goer, Maggie Kyriacou, personally knew Christopher Robin. She grew up in Kingswear, Devon and her father commuted to Dartmouth. Maggie describes her connection to Christopher Robin.

“Christopher Robin owned the bookshop and I remember him quite well. I have ‘When We Were Very Young’ and ‘Now We Are Six’, signed by him and both well-thumbed.”

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is currently exhibiting the sketches, cartoons, and photographs of Winnie the Pooh. The Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic exhibition is on until April 8th, 2018 and tickets cost £8 per adult. Tickets must be pre-booked at:

About the Film

Goodbye Christopher RobinWinnie the Pooh captured the nation's heart from the very first day he was born through the fantastical imagination of A. A. Milne. Generations of parents, children, and grandchildren have such wonderful memories of this little bear and his lovable friends, which we can relive once again in this behind-the-scenes look at the life of A. A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories. 

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children's author A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

Date: Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Time: 8pm

Tickets: £5/adult and £3.50/child

To book your ticket, click here.

Murder on the Orient Express
– showing on Thursday, April 5th,
2018 at 8pm

Fascinating history & the link to Shere

Dame Agatha Christie is known as the best-selling crime writer of all time, having written 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, 6 romances and the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap. She was a huge fan of Wilkie Collin’s, The Woman in White, as well as the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who played cricket for the Allahakbarries against the Shere Fire Brigade in 1887). These books inspired her to write her own detective novel called, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which featured Hercule Poirot with his large twirl moustache and egg-shaped head.

Six years later in 1926 when Christie was aged 36 years old, she played the starring role in her own real-life mystery when she disappeared for 11 days. Her husband Archie, a colonel and former WW1 fighter pilot, had asked Agatha for a divorce because he was in love with a woman called Nancy Neele who lived in Shere. Distraught at his betrayal, Agatha left the mansion she shared with her husband in Sunningdale and drove to a quarry at the Silent Pool just outside the village. There, she abandoned her two-seater Morris Cowley coupe, with headlights still on full beam, items of clothing strewn on the floor and an expired driving license inside, and she vanished.

agatha christies 1926 disappearance


The next morning, a local lad called George Best, spotted the car and notified the police. A nationwide search began with airplanes being used for the first time for a search and rescue mission. The Daily News offered a £100 reward for information about her whereabouts and hundreds of locals conducted a fingertip search of the area surrounding Newlands Corner and the Silent Pool.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, also joined in the hunt for Agatha and he contacted a medium to call upon the spirit world to find her.

It was thought that Agatha walked to the village of Shere after abandoning her car, where she stayed in the pub or a Bed and Breakfast. However, it was also rumoured that her best friend, Nan Watts, took her to the Watts family home in Chelsea. The day after her disappearance, Agatha travelled to Yorkshire by train, where she stayed at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate under the pseudonym, Teresa Neele.

Agatha was found eleven days later.

She returned to her home in Berkshire without her husband, and she continued to deny any memory of her disappearance right up until the day she died in 1975 at the age of 85 years old.

So, did Agatha stay in Shere, near her love rival Nancy Neele?  

About the Film

Murder on the Orient Express teaser posterMurder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Michael Green. The film is based on the 1934 novel of the same name written by Agatha Christie and boasts a stellar cast including Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley.

A lavish trip through Europe quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard a train. When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world's greatest detective - Hercule Poirot - arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.

Described as 'delicious, whodunnit fun,' Murder on the Orient Express will keep you guessing until the very end.

Date: Thursday, April 5th

Time: 8pm

Tickets: £5/adult and £3.50/child

To book your ticket, click here.


Article Summary

Shere might only be a small village, but it has a big history full of famous figures and fascinating stories:

    • Christopher Robin's father, A.A. Milne, played cricket for the Allahakbarries alongside fellow teammates, J.M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan) and Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes). The Allahakbarries regularly played against the Shere Fire Brigade, although Milne only ever played one match for the team in Kent.
    • Agatha Christie staged her own mysterious disappearance at the Silent Pool in 1926 because her husband was having an affair with Shere villager, Nancy Neele. It is rumoured that Agatha walked to Shere after abandoning her car and stayed in a B&B or the pub. 
    • Arthur Conan Doyle, who played cricket with A.A. Milne, joined in the search for Agatha Christie around Shere and the local area.
    • Local resident, Maggie Kyriacou, knew Christopher Robin when she lived in Devon as a child, and visited his bookshop in Dartmouth. She still has two of his signed books.

It's fascinating to learn how our beautiful villages have inspired so many writers, directors, producers and actors and spawned so many successful books and films. Please keep sharing your stories with us.

We are looking forward to seeing you at film night soon.