Iconic Alice makes her stamp on history

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An iconic children’s book character whose image was inspired by a young girl from Crawley is on a new set of stamps.

Kate Lemon, who lived in the High Street, posed as Alice for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 150 years ago. The new Royal Mail stamps depict scenes from the children’s classic.

Alice had her blonde hair in a band just like eight-year-old Kate.

Kate rebelled after she posed in striped stockings for the sequel, Through The Looking Glass.

She threw them down a crack in a staircase in her now demolished home, Vine Cottage.

Kate’s family moved to Crawley in 1858.

Her father, Mark Lemon, was Punch magazine’s first editor.

Her mother, Nelly, a respected pianist, and sisters ran soup kitchens for the town’s poor.

Her brother Harry wrote the pantomime Dick Whittington and his Cat.

The family took part in putting on charitable plays and art exhibitions.

Carroll asked Sir John Tenniel, a political cartoonist for the magazine, to illustrate his masterpieces.

Famous artists such as Tenniel visited the family in Vine Cottage.

Others included John Leech and George du Maurier.

The Lemons attended St Margaret’s Church, Ifield, where Mark was buried.

Helen Poole, curator of Crawley Museum, said: “It’s really important to know where your roots are, especially nowadays when things are changing so rapidly.

“I enjoy commemorating famous links, it’s a good way of keeping history alive.”

Crawley Arts Council has not commemorated the town’s historic link with a blue plaque. Helen said funds were needed.