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Literary Excursion to all things Beatrix Potter | by Anjali

Peter Rabbit, Mr.  McGregor, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jeremy Fisher, and Tom Kitten are just some of the names you will probably remember from childhood. If not, it’s never too late to start reading the wonderful stories by Beatrix Potter. As a kid, I remember these adorable characters and their adventures, and gazing at the beautiful pictures throughout the books, and even watching them play out on TV. Even though I’m 22 now, I still love seeing the characters and flicking through a book now and then.

I’m going to tell you something that I don’t think I’ve actually said online in my blog before: I’m currently living in England (that everyone knows), but I live in a city called Gloucester. I’m telling you this because I need to for this post, and because I trust that you won’t hunt me down and stalk me. In Gloucester, just around the corner from where I work, there’s a little lane I call the Beatrix Potter lane. It’s not its real name, but on the corner on the tiny street there is an equally tiny shop and museum; it’s called The Tailor of Gloucester Beatrix Potter Museum and Shop. Basically it’s just a gift shop with all things Beatrix in it, but it’s there because it’s the exact same shop that she wrote about and drew in her book The Tailor of Gloucester. See why I had to tell you where I live now?

If you’re not familiar with the story, Wikipedia has a short plot summary you could check out. The story takes place in the shop, and though it is fiction, they have turned the shop into an iconic tourist attraction, with her stories and drawings, souvenirs and trinkets, badges and figurines. While there are always people buzzing around and clogging the alley way, I think it’s a fantastic idea to have a Beatrix Potter attraction there, as it not only provides a great place for people to come and visit (and get excited by the fact that they are pretty much stepping into The Tailor of Gloucester book), but it puts a little of Beatrix’s memory, life, and her stories into the city, and that’s something I think we should do with more fantastic authors.

Left photo: Painting of the shop from here
Right photo: Photo of the shop at the moment, taken by me


Speaking of which, this summer I had the opportunity to go to her house (called Hill Top) up in the Lake District of England. Long story short, we were heading up to Scotland for a holiday, and thought it was a great time to pop in on the way and check it out.


Hill Top, her home.
Photo taken by me.
It was really amazing, seeing the place where she wrote a lot of her beloved stories, and while, I discovered later, we weren't supposed to take photos, I did anyway. Please excuse their quality though; no flash and dim light, as well as sneaky photos, doesn't make for great pictures.

In the house, and a Jemima Puddle-duck badge I bought.
Photos taken by me. 
At the door we were greeted by a lady who gave us a copy of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (again, if you’re not familiar, read here), and as we walked around the dark creaky, but awesome, house we could match up her drawings in the book with the actual décor and furniture of her home.  The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (also known as The Roly-Poly Pudding), was one that she wrote using her house as the setting. So, for example, there’s a spot upstairs, just at the top next to a door, where there is a hole in floor boards. This is where, in the story, the rats come in and out of. The vanity in this picture below is still there in all it’s glory, and as are many other things from the book. In each of the rooms there was a desk with some of her letters, drawings and original book layouts, which was amazing to see.

Photos from here. 
As well as her home, you could walk through her garden, and though the plants are obviously not the same ones, you could get a real feel of what it was like back then. Her house is in a little village in the middle of nowhere, but there are little Beatrix Potter things all over the town. Outside one of the houses, they have a Mr. McGregor that you can go and sit with (little bit creepy, but there we have it), and there is also a gallery where you can see her drawings and, of course, a gift shop where you can buy all sorts of Beatrix Potter goodies.  

Me with Mr. McGregor, and the garden outside her house.
Photos taken by me.


I really love going to places that are in books, or have been the inspiration for stories, but it’s even more amazing going to where authors lived, especially if they are early 1900s authors (her first story, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was published in 1902), and things have changed a lot since their time. It’s really nice that organisations like the National Trust can preserve places like this for future generations, and future book lovers.

If you haven’t seen the 2006 movie Miss. Potter, do have a watch. It’s pretty cute and you get a great sense of both her life, and her love for writing and drawing.

If you live in England, or are visiting, and you’re a Beatrix Potter fan, do pop in a have a visit. It’s a National Trust property, and if you’re not a National Trust member, then there is a small fee, but it’s very cute, and if you don’t want to pay to look around the house, you can just walk on in and take a stroll around the garden. It’s very pretty.

And if you happen to be in Gloucester, again, do pop into the Beatrix Potter shop. It’s easy to find and there are signs everywhere. And, if you've spent all your money on cute things, come and find me and I’ll shout you a coffee. 



This was written by regular reviewer Anjali, get to know her here

3 comments

  1. This looks beautiful! I have visited the Haworth Parsonage where the Bronte sisters lived, and it's an amazing feeling to find yourself walking in an author's steps (quite literally!)

    Nell @ &NellWrites

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    Replies
    1. Oh wow! I've just Googled it, and I've realised we nearly drove right past it! What a shame! That would have been amazing to see to! Ah well, next time :)

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    2. Definitely worth a visit!

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