A charming story, “The Tailor of Gloucester”, is one of the best-loved tales told by the renowned author Beatrix Potter. It concerns the adventures of some mice and how they help a poor Tailor in his hour of need. The story begins with the Tailor looking to complete a fine waistcoat for the Mayor of the city. He has to have it finished by Christmas Eve for the Mayor to wear it for his Wedding on Christmas morning. To complete the garment, the Tailor has to have a roll of fine red silk. He asks his Cat Simpkin to go to the shop and buy him a roll of silk. When Simpkin is gone, the Tailor finds several mice that the Cat has captured and releases them. The released mice flee and seek refuge in the Tailors house, safely away from Simpkin.
The enraged Cat takes revenge by not giving the Tailor the roll of cherry silk he needs to complete the Mayor’s waistcoat. Simpkin hides the roll, and the Tailor falls ill. He recovers at home but is distraught as he cannot finish the waistcoat in time. When he goes to the shop, he finds the waistcoat sewed by the mice that he freed, save for one buttonhole. Racked with guilt, Simpkin finds the roll and presents it to the Tailor. The Tailor duly finishes the waistcoat and becomes famous and rich from it.
The story is based on an actual Tailor from Gloucester. Whilst it’s unlikely that he was helped by Mice, Potter was inspired by the Tailors tale that she was informed about by her sister Caroline Hutton. As with other Potter stories, it was given as a gift to a ten year old girl who was the daughter of a former Governess to Potter before publication to the public.
The Tailor himself is thought to be one John Pritchard. He was also working on a waistcoat for the Mayor. He came to his shop to complete the work only to find it miraculously completed save for the single buttonhole. All that was left was a short note simply saying “No more twist”. In reality Pritchards assistants had finished the work in the night. However, aware that he might have a good bit of marketing he claimed it was the work of faerie folk. The sketches of the Tailor have traditionally been of a wizened old man but Pritchard was actually younger that Potter by some eleven years.
The story became one of Potter’s best known and most loved. The City of Gloucester has used the story many times to promote itself and it is a part of the City’s heritage and folklore. It’s one of the features of the City that makes it worth living in, just ask the residents of Park Homes Gloucester. You should visit Park Home Life to see what a great place it is to live.