Beatrix Potter the writer and illustrator of so many magical tales for children was fascinated by Tenby when she stayed here with her parents on at least two occasions in 1900 and 1901.
Intrepid explorers of the town will have spotted the blue plaque on number 2 The Croft commemorating her stay here and the inspiration that she drew from all that she saw. This is of course particularly pertinent today as we celebrate a very big birthday; it is 150 years since she was born.
Whilst here she wrote and illustrated several letters to the children of her former governess and painted two pictures of the garden at number 2.
Later, when she decided to become a children’s author it was these letters and paintings that helped to shape the story of one of her most well known and best loved characters, Peter Rabbit. The Tale of Peter Rabbit includes a picture of a cat peering into a pond that had been in her painting of the garden of 2 The Croft, and also her letters refer to her boat trip around the Tenby cliffs and the rabbit holes and wallflowers, and the many wild cabbages she saw in their little rabbit gardens for Mrs Rabbit to cook for her family using the local coal! She also recalled a trip to an island, almost certainly Caldey, to see puffins that would have been plentiful at the time of her visit.
Some of the fabulous illustrated letters were auctioned in 1994 and sold for prices ranging between £4,500 and £30,000 each. Two of the ‘Tenby’ letters were included in that sale and went to America.
But any visitors to Tenby and Caldey will still see the same rabbit holes, wallflowers and wild cabbages along the cliffs today that inspired Beatrix Potter all those years ago!