Next year (2016) will see a double celebration as it is 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter as well as 10 years since the re-opening of The House of the Tailor of Gloucester. Marketing Gloucester, the organisation tasked with promoting the city of Gloucester and tourism, have put a call out to the people of Gloucestershire to find out how they would like to celebrate one the most famous stories set in the historic cathedral city of Gloucester.
Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester was her third book and coincidently the favourite of all her works. The famous author wrote the book in 1901 as a gift to the daughter of one of her tutors. Miss Potter later reworked the story and this became the edition that Frederick Warne published in October 1903. The inspiration for the story came when Miss Potter was staying just outside Gloucester with her cousin who told her a tale of a local tailor who laid out some fabric for a waistcoat and came back the next day to find it finished with just a note saying “no more twist”. The truth was that two workmen, after a night of merriment, were unable to get home so stayed in the tailors workshop. They woke and finished the waistcoat for the tailor to pass the time so as not to be seen by Sunday churchgoers in such a state.
Beatrix Potter applied her writer’s magic to the story and turned the account into the fabled Christmas tale we all know today about an aging tailor and his cat making a waistcoat for the Mayor of Gloucester’s Christmas day wedding. However, the tailor gets struck down with fever and becomes unable to complete it. Three mice the tailor saved previously from his cat come to the rescue and finish the waistcoat just in time, bar the last button because there was “no more twist”.
Number nine, College Court, standing beside the ancient St Michael’s Gate, was the building chosen to set the Tailor of Gloucester and can still be seen to this day, preserved as a museum dedicated to Beatrix Potter and her work.
Marketing Gloucester is very excited to celebrate the occasion but would like to hear how the public think it should be done. Jack Wakefield, a Marketing Gloucester spokesman, said “We have already had a few good suggestions on how we can celebrate Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday and how schools, clubs and the community can get involved. These include some sort of trail with collections around the shops. However we are very keen to get the public’s opinion on how everyone can get involved!”
If you have an idea, please contact Marketing Gloucester at: firstname.lastname@example.org