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We are looking volunteers for a Treasurer, a Sales Manager, and Editor for the Journal and Newsletter, and someone to help us produce our books and merchandise. Click here for more information.
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Committee Elected at AGM
Left to right top row:
Angela Black, Meetings Secretary, Miranda Gore Browne, Sue Smith, Treasurer, Helen Duder, Registrar of Objects, Archivist, merchandise specialist.
Seated left to right:
Rowena Godfrey, Chairman and Kathy Cole, Secretary
9, 10 and 11 June, 2017 Connecticut College, Connecticut
Beatrix Potter in New London on the Thames
US Symposium “Beatrix Potter in New London on the Thames” will be held on 9,10 and 11 June 2017 at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut. This is the first meeting held in the United States in 5 years. A great chance to see old friends and make new ones!
The weekend will include talks, panel discussions, and an exhibition in the Linda Lear Center. For details about programme and registration information click here.
Saturday 20 May, 2017 The Sloane Club, London
Andrew Wiltshire (the Society’s Sales Liaison) will talk his book – ‘Beatrix Potter’s Secret Code Breaker’ – who is the subject of his book of the same name. Leslie Linder was a most remarkable man ‒ his tale is one of perseverance and generosity, and his legacy to Potter scholars is invaluable.
When growing up, Andrew knew the Linders socially and through church, and during careers in engineering and then management and marketing consultancy he worked briefly in Leslie Linder’s company.
Doors open at noon for shopping and socialising, and refreshments (not lunch) will be available. The talk will start at about 2 pm. Non-Members and guests are welcome, for a small fee payable on the door.
Congratulations to Dame Patricia Routledge DBE!
We are thrilled to learn that our Patron, Patricia Rutledge, has received a New Year’s Honour for services to theatre and charity.
Patricia’s charitable works are possibly less well known than her work on stage and screen. Patricia has been a wonderful supporter of the Society for many years. Here she is with her award after it was presented to her by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Beatrix Potter News
Jemima Puddle-duck doll and two first edition little books
The Society is now 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lizzie Jacklin(email@example.com).
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.