Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park.

 

Born into an upper-class household, she was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. Beatrix had numerous pets and spent holidays in Scotland and the Lake District, developing a love of landscape, flora, and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted.

Her study and watercolours of fungi led to her being widely respected in the field of mycology and in her thirties, Beatrix self-published the highly successful children's book, which we all know as 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit'. Following its success she began writing and illustrating children's books full-time and in all, she wrote thirty books.

 

With the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, in 1905 Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey. Over the following decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape. 

 

She continued to write and illustrate, and to design spin-off merchandise based on her children's books until the duties of land management and her diminishing eyesight made it difficult to continue. She died of pneumonia and heart disease on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at the age of 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust.

Her books continue to sell throughout the world in many languages with her stories being retold in song, film, ballet, and animation, and her life depicted in a feature film and television film.

Beatrix loved life in the Lake District and as a prominent member of the farming community she won prizes for breeding sheep, especially the Herdwick breed and was a fierce campaigner on local conservation issues.