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England Travel Tips 
Discover the Real England   

      

   

  By Mike Valeriani
   
 
Regions: N West N East Yorkshire W Midlands E Midlands East S West S East

Beatrix Potter

 

Beatrix Potter portrait with english countryside in the background.Beatrix Potter was a shy little girl that never went to school, as she was educated at home by governesses in Victorian England. She studied art as a hobby when her little brother was sent away to boarding school. Despite not having been to school, her early sketches as a child reveal a clear passion for nature and the countryside, as she was a keen student of this subject that followed her throughout her life. Her summer trips to the North West of England were particularly important for her artistic and intellectual development.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was written in 1893 (at age 27) as a picture letter to a little boy she knew that had been ill for a while. In 1901 (at age 35) she went to a printer to have her first book printed in 250 copies. They were for sale for a shilling each and they went so fast that two weeks later she had another 200 printed. The rest if history: she published 32 books.

Benjamin Bunny sketch by Beatrix PotterIt would be difficult to overstate Beatrix Potter importance to an influence on the Lake District. She first came to this idyllic part of Britain on family holidays in the 1880s. It is here that she met one of the co-founders of the National Trust, the Vicar of Wray, Canon Rawnsley, who, while encouraging her artistic and literary talents, also ignited an interest in preserving the countryside. Throughout her life she contributed fully to Lakeland living – as well as being a most accomplished writer, she was a pig and sheep breeder, mycologist, artist and landowner.

For those who grew up with Squirrel Nutkin and Peter Rabbit, it is heartening to learn that Beatrix used the wealth gained from becoming a bestselling children’s author for the common good. The Potter story goes far beyond cute animals in enchanting stories. The Monks Coniston estate is probably the jewel of the extraordinary bequest. She bought these 1600 hectares (4000 acres) of land between Little Langdale and Coniston in 1930, and immediately sold the beautiful Tarn Hows section to the National Trust. The rest passed to the Trust on her death in 1943 along with almost all of her property.

Many companies offer Beatrix Potter tours and several places house her drawing, most notably Hill Top Farm at Near Sawrey, The Beatrix Potter Gallery at Hawkshead and the Armitt in Ambleside. You can even stay in Yew Tree Farm, one of her former properties. Beware though, the owners have an apparent "nose up attitude" and in my case, after having contacted them on more than one occasion with a business proposal, I was not able to obtain even a single reply or acknowledgement; obviously they are not in need of more business, hence my decision not to link them on this page, as I would not recommend them.

Hill Top Farm, residence of Beatrix PotterIt is at Hill Top Farm that Miss Potter created some of her most famous character, after her pet friends and animals she cared for.

Coming here is quite emotional for the those of you who grew up with her enchanting stories, thinking that they were first thought and put on paper in this very place. Few things can match these emotions.

Even if you didn’t grow up with her work, the Potter theme provides the perfect frame for your own tour of the southern lakes. Starting from the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness, you can take the ferry over the lake to Near Sawrey, travel to Hawkshead and Coniston and then back round to finish in Ambleside.

For those that didn’t grow up with Beatrix Potter’s stories and characters, the popular movie “Miss Potter” will give you a memorable and enchantingly clear picture of her live, work and myth.

 

The 23 Tales:

 

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903)
  • The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904)
  • The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904)
  • The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905)
  • The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)
  • The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1906)
  • The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit (1906)
  • The Story of Miss Moppet (1906)
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten (1907)
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)
  • The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding (1908)
  • The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (1909)
  • The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (1909)
  • The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse (1910)
  • The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (1911)
  • The Tale of Mr. Tod (1912)
  • The Tale of Pigling Bland (1913)
  • Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (1917)
  • The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918)
  • Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes (1922)
  • The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (1930)

 

 

Other books:

 

  • Peter Rabbit's Painting Book (1911)
  • Tom Kitten's Painting Book (1917)
  • Jemima Puddle-Duck's Painting Book (1925)
  • Peter Rabbit's Almanac for 1929 (1928)
  • The Fairy Caravan (1929)
  • Sister Anne (illustrated by Katharine Sturges) (1932)
  • Wag-by-Wall (decorations by J. J. Lankes) (1944)
  • The Tale of the Faithful Dove (illustrated by Marie Angel) (1955, 1970)
  • The Sly Old Cat (written 1906; first published 1971)

 

 

 

 

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