Beatrix Potter was born in Victorian London but there are now Potter-related places to visit all over the world.  Her original drawings and/or letters can be found in museums and libraries, where some are on permanent display or can only be seen by appointment.  Please check the relevant website before visiting, but if you would like to find out more about Beatrix Potter, these are some of the locations of interest.

It is also important to note that there are plenty of places relevant to Beatrix Potter that may not have a visitor website. She visited many areas, especially when on holiday, and made sketches and background notes relevant to her later books. If you read widely from the books about Beatrix Potter you will learn where to find these, from the south coast and East Anglia, to the Lake District or Wales.

Lake District

The name of Beatrix Potter is firmly linked with the English Lake District, from the Derwentwater area where the family spent many holidays, to Sawrey and Hawkshead near Windermere in particular. It was in this beautiful part of England that she wrote many of her children’s books and here that she spent the last thirty years of her life, having married local solicitor William Heelis in 1913.

London & The South

Beatrix Potter was born in London and lived there until her marriage in 1913. Her mother finally sold the house in Bolton Gardens, Kensington in 1924 (following her husband’s death in 1914). The house was damaged in the blitz in 1940 and destroyed. Bousfield Primary School was later built on the site.

Devon & Cornwall

This is a talk given by Emma Laws (who used to be the Curator at the V&A and now lives in Devon and is Director of Collections at the Devon and Exeter Institution).  ‘Westcountry Colours: Beatrix Potter in Devon and Cornwall’ is fascinating and entertaining, featuring quotes from letters and Journal entries written during Potter holidays to the West country and some beautiful sketches and watercolours (and, of course, quite a bit about The Tale of Little Pig Robinson).

Wales

The Potter family spent several holidays in Wales, and Beatrix’s uncle Fred Burton and his wife Harriet (née Leech), lived at Gwaenynog in Denbighshire, where Beatrix often visited them and sketched their garden and the surrounding countryside.

Scotland

Few people realise the importance and influence of Scotland on Beatrix Potter’s life. As a child Beatrix and her family enjoyed long summer holidays in the Birnam area of Perthshire. Staying in the countryside, away from the more formal life they led in London, Beatrix and her young brother, Bertram, were able to study the local wildlife. It was from Eastwood, Dunkeld, in 1893 that Beatrix wrote the now famous picture letter to Noel Moore which was later to become The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The following day she wrote a letter to Noel’s brother, Eric, about a frog called Jeremy Fisher. People she had met there on holiday inspired the loveable character of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. Beatrix Potter is renowned not only as an author and illustrator, but also as an eminent scientist. During her time in the Birnam area she met and formed a special friendship with Charles McIntosh – the Perthshire Naturalist – sharing a mutual interest in fungi and wildlife.

Overseas

Beatrix Potter had a strong connection with the Americans, so it is no surprise that some of her original drawings and letters can be found there. In the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia there is a good collection of original Beatrix Potter drawings and watercolours and also some letters, first editions, Peter Rabbit piracies, ephemera and a reference section. There is not always an extensive display of items on public view, so contact the library for an appointment. A large collection of Beatrix Potter material was presented to Princeton by Lloyd E Cotsen, who also donated the funds to create the children’s library, which is a unit within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Princeton University Library. Researchers are strongly advised to contact the Curator in advance of visiting. The Beatrix Potter Reference Library in Japan was established in the grounds of the Saitama Children’s Zoo by Daito Bunka University in 2006. The building is a replica of Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in Cumbria, UK and holds a rare Beatrix Potter collection, including her two privately printed little book editions, a copy of A Happy Pair (1893), some original watercolours and other first edition copies.

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