A Brief Biography of Beatrix Potter

By Tim Lambert

Helen Beatrix Potter was a famous author of the early 20th century. Beatrix was born in South Kensington, London on 28 July 1866. Her father, Rupert Potter was a lawyer. Since her mother was also called Helen she was called by her middle name, Beatrix. She had one brother who was 6 years younger than her.

Potter and her family took holidays in Perthshire and from 1882 in the Lake District. From a young age, Beatrix was fascinated by the natural world. In particular, she was interested in fungi. She wrote a paper called On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae. It was read to the Linnean Society in 1897. Beatrix was also skilled at drawing and she drew pictures for letters she sent to children.

Eventually, she wrote a children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In 1901 Beatrix published it privately but in 1902 Warne & Co published it. It was the start of her career writing and illustrating children’s books.

In 1905 Beatrix became engaged to Norman Warne but unfortunately, he died shortly afterward. Meanwhile, Beatrix had bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey in the Lake District. She moved to live there and spent her time farming as well as writing. In 1913 she married a solicitor named William Heelis. The couple lived in Castle Cottage in Near Sawrey although Beatrix still owned Hill Top Farm.

Beatrix died on 22 December 1943. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered on her land.

The Lake District