Amazingly, Beatrix Potter was born in 1866, 151 years ago. She was an incredible woman. Her children’s story books, written around the many pets she and her brother kept as children, are still selling well today, all theses years later. One of the most interesting things about her life and work is her use of merchandising. In 1903, she designed and patented a Peter Rabbit doll, so today Peter Rabbit is the world’s oldest licensed literary character. She also worked on a Peter Rabbit board game, although that didn’t appear on the market for some years, as the first version was very complicated.
But it’s what she did with the income from her business interests that we remember her for, here in the Lake District.
Around the turn of the century, the Lakeland’s Herdwick sheep were an endangered breed. Beatrix bought Hill Top Farm and set about breeding Herdwicks – she was so successful that she won awards for her sheep at local agricultural shows, and even became the first woman president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association.
And no, she wasn’t Harry Potter’s sister.