With this week’s release of the Peter Rabbit film, everyone will be reminded of this famous Potter character but what about her other stories? Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 and The Tailor of Gloucester a year later but is perhaps the lesser known of the two.
To find out more, Ed and I went to Gloucester to visit the fantastic ‘Beatrix Potter – The House of the Tailor of Gloucester’ museum and shop. The little building stands within the shadow of Gloucester Cathedral: the area Beatrix Potter drew and which inspired her to write what she described as her ‘favourite book’.
The book is about (who remembers?) a tailor who had to make a waistcoat for the Mayor of Gloucester. He ran out of time, so some mice finished the job overnight. Potter based it on a true story of tailor Mr John Prichard (swapping some apprentices for mice!) She was visiting her cousin near Gloucester at the time and also drew sketches of the area near the tailor’s shop. The museum/shop is housed in a building Potter liked and it features in the book.
The museum itself is wonderfully quaint with an upstairs and downstairs full of Potter facts and memorabilia. A little display of the tailor and mice with a replica of the waistcoat is particularly lovely. There are little figures of most of the characters (Ed wondered where Mr McGregor was!) and old copies of Beatrix Potter’s famous collection.
Talking to the lovely ladies in the shop, they said that an old man who looks like the tailor often volunteers in the shop and reads the story to children. If you want to arrange a group reading, just call them.
The House of the Tailor is staffed by volunteers who are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Beatrix Potter and her works. The museum and shop are open to the public every day.