The Tailor of Gloucester (1903)

Beatrix Potter’s own favourite among her stories, The Tailor of Gloucester was privately printed in 1902, and then published by Frederick Warne & Co. in October 1903, following the striking popularity of her two earlier children’s stories.

John Pritchard's shop in Gloucester photo by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD
John Pritchard’s shop in Gloucester photo by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD

It tells of a tailor whose work on a special waistcoat was completed by mice grateful because he had rescued them from his cat.

The story was based on the experience of a real Gloucester tailor, called John Pritchard. He was making a suit for the new mayor. after a weekend when he returned to work he found the suit completed, all except one buttonhole. His assistants had almost finished the suit, leaving a note “No more twist”, to explain the missing buttonhole. The incident became a local legend not least because Pritchard liked to claim that fairies had done the work!

Beatrix Potter sketched the shop as well as the interiors of local cottages, and used these drawings as the basis for her illustrations, and the location is a tourist attraction today.

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