On 28th July, 1866, Beatrix Potter was born and lived at No 2, Bolton Gardens in London. Encouraged to draw from an early age, she spent many hours drawing the collection of pets that she and her brother had gathered in their schoolroom.
'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' was originally written as a picture letter to Noel, son of Annie Moore, one of Beatrix's former governesses, whilst he was ill in bed.
Noel kept his letter and Beatrix sent others to the family describing Squirrel Nutkin and Jeremy Fisher and their adventures. Seven years after she had written this letter to Noel, Beatrix asked if she could borrow it back and worked to put it into a publishable form.
Having received six rejections, Beatrix decided to publish the book for herself. The book's success meant that Frederick Warne & Co, who had previously declined the book, reconsidered and published it with Beatrix's illustrations in colour. Published in October 1902, it was an instant hit and was followed by 'The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin' and 'The Tailor of Gloucester'.
Her sixth book, 'The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle' is my favourite. It was the pictures that captivated me- Mrs Tiggy-Winkle doing the washing, her prickles poking through the back of her dress. Each picture is worth lingering over, showing details of an 'idealised' country life ways.
Having visited Beatrix's home in the Lake District and the surrounding lands she donated to the National Trust, it is obvious that the contribution of this amazing lady reaches far beyond her stories for children. Some of the most beautiful countryside in the world has been cared for and preserved for everyone to enjoy- thanks to Beatrix Potter.
There are many possibilities for using these books (and looking at Beatrix Potter's life) both at home and at school. You can find out more on these websites: