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 Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter

Original Name Helen Beatrix
South Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Death 22 Dec 1943 (aged 77)
Hawkshead, South Lakeland District, Cumbria, England
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Ashes scattered in Sawrey, England
Memorial ID 3478 · View Source
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Author, illustrator and expert amateur mycologist, Helen Beatrix Potter was born in South Kensington, London, England. Hers was a typical English upper middle class family who had inherited wealth from cotton manufacturing. All the household duties were performed by servants so the family enjoyed long holidays at regular intervals initially in Scotland but later in the even more breathtaking landscape of the English Lake District. During her lonely childhood she was educated at home by a succession of German governesses and she developed a keen interest in animals and hobbies which included writing (she kept a journal written in her own secret code), art and mycology. In 1901 she was encouraged to use an illustrated letter about rabbits she had written to the son of a former governess, who considered it deserved a wider audience, as the basis for a small book for young children, and eventually interested the publisher Frederick Warne and Company of London. It appeared in 1902 under the title "The Tale Of Peter Rabbit" and became an immediate success. Thereafter her other books appeared at short regular intervals: "The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin" (1903), "The Taylor Of Gloucester" (1903), "The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny (1904) etc. in all 23 titles concluding in 1930.. In this way she achieved her long-held ambition of financial independence. In 1905, after the sudden and tragic death of her fiance, Norman Warne, a family member of her publishers, she purchased a farm called Hilltop in the tiny village of Near Sawrey, Cumbria, in northern England and went there to live combining the writing of her children's books with learning about sheep farming. Gradually her writing gave way to farming Herdwick sheep and in 1913 she married her solicitor, William Heelis, who was handling further property transactions for her. On account of her fame, both in America as well as Britain, Beatrix received very many letters from readers and sometimes visitors too at her home, even after she had long since ceased writing professionally and had instead become a very astute and locally respected farmer. Beatrix Potter died at Castle Cottage, Near Sawrey, after suffering a cold she could not overcome aged 77. She was cremated and her ashes scattered by her beloved husband at the spot in Near Sawrey ( on the far side of the southern end of the adjoining lake called Esthwaite Water ) they once had often walked while courting. In her will most of her property was bequeathed to the National Trust in order to help protect the sublime natural beauty of the English Lake District from developers. In this way she became an early and important conservationist.

Bio by: Timothy Purnell

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 20 Aug 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3478
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Beatrix Potter (28 Jul 1866–22 Dec 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3478, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Ashes scattered in Sawrey, England.