This image—online via the UK National Trust—depicts Beatrix Potter when she was 15 years old. Her father Rupert—an avid photographer—took this picture of his oldest child with her dog Spot.


Helen Beatrix Potter was born in London on July 28, 1866. Her parents - Rupert Potter and Helen Leech - were financially secure. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, and its many innovative machines, both had inherited cotton fortunes from wealthy Lancashire families. (Don't miss the animations in this paragraph.)

Because mother and daughter had the same first name, the new parents called their daughter “Beatrix” - or, simply, “B” - to avoid confusion. Although she gave the baby her name, Mrs. Potter did not give the child much time. The role of care giver was filled by a nurse and, later, governesses.

Growing up in her home at 2 Bolton Gardens, Kensington, Beatrix led a life separate from her parents. Miss McKenzie, her nurse, was from the Scottish Highlands. Of her, Beatrix once said:

She had a firm belief in witches, fairies and the creed of the terrible John Calvin (the creed rubbed off but the fairies remained.) (Beatrix Potter: The Artist and Her World, page 10.)

When she was six, Beatrix was joined in the nursery by a baby brother, Walter Bertram Potter. Because their parents discouraged close friendships with others, Bertram and Beatrix became close companions. Their nurse allowed them to have pets, including rabbits and squirrels.

Prevented from having friends her own age, Beatrix started a secret journal when she was fifteen. Using a code she developed herself, she added to the journal until she was about thirty. After she died, the code remained a mystery until Leslie Linder deciphered it (in 1958).

Educated at home - like other wealthy girls in Victorian Britain - Beatrix had a penchant for drawing. Between the ages of five and fifteen, she worked on her skills in Scotland, where her family spent the summer months.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jul 15, 2019

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"LIFE in VICTORIAN BRITAIN" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 28, 2020.
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