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Setting the Scene: Pre Conference Tour Days and Beatrix Potter’s Vision: Celebrating the Lake District
We will be holding our Eighteenth Biennial Conference from 11-15 September. Pre-Conference Tour Days are from 9-11 September. We will be based at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal and will take all excursions from there. We hope you will join us!
Click to view flyers that describe the Conference and Tour Days. We encourage you to register and pay online. For a fillable registration form that can be saved and submitted electronically, click here. Following submission, you will be automatically directed to our PayPal page for payment of your deposit.
Congratulations to The Beatrix Potter Society’s Newly Elected Committee!
Pictured from front, row left to right: Sue Smith; Helen Duder, Registrar of Objects and Archivist; Miranda Gore Browne, Chair of the BPS, Angela Rijks-Bettink, Facebook account; Kathy Cole, Secretary.
Back row left to right Jenny Lyon, Journal and Newsletter Editor, Janet Sullivan, ‘Pottering About’ editor and Andrew Wiltshire, Treasurer, Sales Liaison and Data Protection Officer.
Not pictured: Angela Black, Meetings Secretary; Jenny Field Membership Secretary; Betsy Bray, Website Manager; Donna S. Priesmeyer, Publications Chair.
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Beatrix Potter News
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Roslind Moscrop’s Recent Bequest to The Beatrix Potter Society
The bequest has the inscribed copy of The Fairy Caravan: ‘For Joe Moscrop in remembrance of Troutbeck Park and the sheep. With kind regards from the author Beatrix Heelis. May 30th 1930’. In 1929, The Fairy Caravan was published only in America, but a hundred copies were produced in the UK for copyright purposes and Beatrix distributed them to her friends and – in particular – to local farmers and shepherds. Joe Moscrop’s copy is number 29; it also contains the frontispiece (the sketches for which are shown on the cover of the October J&N) about which Beatrix wrote: ‘This drawing and several others are not in the American edition. The first chapter was reprinted at Ambleside, for “copyrighting” purposes.’ This along with other correspondence is deposited with the National Trust in the Lake District.
Jemima Puddle-duck doll and two first edition little books
The Society is the proud owner of a charming but very old Jemima Puddle-duck doll and two first edition little books – The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher – and all are on long loan at the V&A . These were a generous donation from Member, Christine Hacklett, and were given to her family by Beatrix Potter herself. Christine’s great-aunt was Nurse Ellen Bond, who helped to care for Beatrix’s first governess, Miss Hammond, in her old age and the two women became friends. Jemima is now on long loan at the V&A, where you can make an appointment to see it by contacting Emma Laws (email@example.com) or Lizzie Jacklin(firstname.lastname@example.org).
The copy of The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher is inscribed ‘to Ellen J Bond from Beatrix Potter Oct 4th 1906 Sawrey Ambleside’, and the Jemima is one of the original dolls registered in 1910 and produced by a company called Farnell to Beatrix’s own design. In the same year she wrote to another little girl, ‘… I should like to send “Jemima” because I have taken a great deal of interest in getting her made. She is being made in hundreds at a toy factory at Acton Hill.’
Several other Jemima dolls have survived – among them one at Melford Hall (given to the Hyde Parker children by Beatrix) and another (which originally belonged to Tom Storey’s daughter, Freda) in the Beatrix Potter Collection of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University. (See the ‘Places to Visit’ page of this website for more about Melford Hall and the Cotsen Collection. You can also read more about the Society’s acquisition in the January 2017 Journal and Newsletter, which featured Jemima on its cover.)
The background letter on the website
Visitors to The Beatrix Potter Society website might be intrigued by the background letter on each page. It is one of a group of eight letters – seven from Beatrix Heelis and one from William Heelis – written to George Walker, the manager of Troutbeck Park Farm from 1930 to 1945. They were bought by the Society at a Sotheby’s auction in May 1998 and are currently on long-loan to the V&A.(see above for making an appointment to view them)
Most of the letters, like this one written in 1942, relate to day-to-day farming matters – sale prices for cattle and sheep, wages for the men and the weather – but the collection also includes Beatrix’s initial approach to George Walker asking him to come and work for her. Her last letter to him was written on 20 November 1943, a few weeks before her death, and she says, ‘Don’t know when I will come, the wind makes me cough.’ Willie Heelis’s letter is also written a few weeks before his death – from a nursing home in York on 27 May 1945 – and encloses a cheque for the wages and enquires about the farm.
George Walker himself features several times in the letters written to Beatrix’s lambing shepherd, Joseph Moscrop, between 1926 and 1943 and published by the Society in 1998 as Beatrix Potter’s Farming Friendship.