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Childhood would be a lot less interesting without Beatrix Potter! The animal characters she created have captivated and fed the imagination of so many children across the world, which is a joy to see first hand when children get the opportunity to meet them at Willows Farm.
Here are our 10 favourite facts about this generous and colourful author:
1. Without Beatrix’s help the Herdwick breed of sheep that is native to the Lake District and which you can see on the farm would be extinct today.
2. The character of Benjamin Benny was based on her rabbit “the charming rascal Benjamin Bouncer “.
3. Her pets included a pair of lizards named Toby and Judy, and a green frog, Punch, who she used to take out on trips out for the day.
4. Beatrix kept a diary from the age of 14 that she wrote in secret code so that her Mother wouldn’t read it, which was only deciphered many years later and published in 1966.
5. Before Beatrix Potter became a children’s illustrator and author, she applied her artist skills and analytical mind to the study of mushrooms and lichen, engaging vigorously in the scientific debates of the time.
6. Beatrix worked as an illustrator, and her designs can be found in children’s books, gift cards and ephemera from the late C19th, often initialled ‘HBP’ (her real name was Helen Beatrix Potter).
7. Many of the now-famous Beatrix Potter stories started off as picture-letters she sent to the children of relatives or friends.
8. Beatrix Potter could not find a publisher for her first two ‘Peter Rabbit & Friends’ books initially so had them privately printed, developing a colour-printing technique in the process which she then took to Frederick Warne & Co. who went on to publish nearly all her works from there on. True first editions of Peter Rabbit have been sold for £40,000 at auction.
9. Many of Beatrix Potter characters wear clogs and she herself liked wearing traditional Lake District wooden clogs.
10. Beatrix Potter bequeathed 4000 acres and 14 farms in the Lake District to the National Trust, you can visit her farmhouse Hill Top that is maintained by the National Trust
Book a VIP meet and greet with Peter Rabbit or Lily Bobtail
Check out our Peter Rabbit Gift Ideas in the shop that can be accessed without entering the activity farm.