House Crazy Sarah loves writer’s houses, especially historic cottages. She is crazy about beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter’s former cottage in Near Sawrey, a village in the English county of Cumbria because it was the writer’s very own doll house.
That’s right, Beatrix Potter had her very own she-shed in the form of an English country cottage where she kept her beloved collected items, entertained friends, decorated, wrote and illustrated her books, gardened… everything but live there full-time. She actually had another main house where she lived with her husband.
Beatrix Potter at her Hill Top Cottage, 1913
House Crazy Sarah wants her very own she-shed historic cottage in the English countryside! No kids allowed, no men allowed!
Hill Top Cottage is where Beatrix Potter wrote 13 of her 23 children’s books of magical little animal tales and their garden adventures.
House Crazy Sarah grew up reading about sweet Peter Rabbit and having her imagination tickled by the shenanigans of the Flopsy Bunnies.
Interesting fact: when Beatrix Potter was first starting out, she could not find a publisher for her books so she actually self-published just for her friends and family. Luckily, her self-published children’s book started making the rounds in London and a publisher who previously rejected her decided to professionally publish her work. The rest, as they say, is history.
With the proceeds from her books and an inheritance from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in July of 1906. She purchased the house and its 34-acre working farm to be her country home away from London as well as her artistic retreat.
The house, farm, and nearby villages were featured in several of Potter’s books.
Hill Top Cottage is a 17th-century house that has been designated a Grade II* listed building. It is now open to the public as a writer’s house museum, and is staged as Beatrix Potter herself had furnished it. The address is: Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside.
Hill Top Cottage in the frost of winter:
In Beatrix’s time, the farm was managed by a gentleman named John Cannon. The wing on the side of the house was built for Cannon and his family in 1906.
Beatrix made arrangements to donate the Hill Top property to the National Trust upon her death in 1943 in order for it to be kept as an old house museum.
Let’s have a look inside…
Look closely and you can see how the wallpaper covers not only the walls, but the ceilings as well. The pattern is a reproduction of the original paper Beatrix hung in the house in 1906.
The furnishings and china all belonged to Beatrix.
Keep in mind that Beatrix owned this house as a single woman. She was a spinster until she wed in 1913 at the age of 47. She and her husband, solicitor William Heelis, lived together nearby in another house.
But she never let go of her beloved Hill Top Farm. In fact, Beatrix became a prosperous farmer and a prize-winning sheep breeder at the farm. She was known for her love of gardening and her keen interest in land preservation.
Potter died of pneumonia and heart disease at the age of 77 on December 22, 1943.
Potter’s legacy includes preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park. Her beloved books continue to sell throughout the world in multiple languages.
And of course, there is the wonderful Hill Top Cottage.