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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

150th Anniversary of birth of Beatrix Potter

Tomorrow 28 July 2016 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, the well known author, illustrator and conservationist.

She was brought up in a wealthy Unitarian family with a Manchester background. Rupert and Helen (Leech) Potter were active Unitarians and their close friends included Rev James Martineau, Unitarian theologian and philosopher, and Rev William Gaskell, husband of the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. Their social life revolved around the Unitarian community surrounding Manchester.

Unitarians across the North West will be celebrating over this weekend:

Stalybridge Unitarian Church, where Beatrix Potter opened a bazaar in 1912, will be open on 28 July and 29 July from 1.30 to 4.30 pm with an exhibition. Refreshments will be available.

John and William Leech gave a plot of land on the edge of the Gorse Hall estate to build the church, which is situated on Forester Drive, Stalybridge. Donations from the Leech and Potter families enabled the church to open free of debt in 1870. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Jane Leech, Beatrix Potter's grandmother.

Hyde Chapel Gee Cross will be open to visitors on 28 July, 29 July and 30 July from 1.00 to 4.00 pm with a display showing the Potter family connection with the Chapel. Helen and Rupert Potter were married here in 1863 and members of the Potter, Leech and Ashton families are buried here. Light refreshments will be available.

Dukinfield Old Chapel, where members of the Leech family are buried will be open on 29 July from 1.30 to 4.00 pm and 30 July from 11.30 to 4.00 pm. On 31 July there will be a service at 2.00 pm when Rev Dr Ann Peart, former Principal of Unitarian College Manchester, will talk on "Beatrix Potter's Manchester Connections". There will be an exhibition and "well dressing". Refreshments will be available.

Cross Street Chapel in Manchester's city centre, where her ancestors worshipped, will be open from Friday 29 to Sunday 31th July with a small exhibition.

Image in public domain.

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