In December 1902, Beatrix Potter had 500 copies printed of her new story – The Tailor of Gloucester.
Like Peter Rabbit – privately printed a year previously – these little books appeared in time for the author to distribute them amongst family and friends at Christmas. This
edition was followed by commercial publication by Warne of the story the following year, in a shortened version overseen by Beatrix Potter’s fiancé-to-be, Norman Warne.
The story of the Tailor of Gloucester is a Christmastide fairy tale, based on a real tailor, and buildings Beatrix Potter had sketched on a visit to Gloucester. The illustrations of the tailor’s shop show 9, College Court, just by Gloucester cathedral. The building – having been a private house and later an antique shop – was bought by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1978, remodelled to match Beatrix Potter’s illustrations, and opened as a Beatrix Potter museum and shop.
We don’t know which of Beatrix Potter’s family or friends received SC&A’s signed copy of the first edition as their Christmas present in 1902, with her inscription dated 20 December, but it is now part of the Children’s Book collections at Liverpool University Library, available to English students studying Children’s Literature, and all other readers.