BEFORE she settled at Sawrey, Beatrix Potter stayed at many other places in Lakeland.

As an 18-year-old, staying in Ambleside, she went to see Ginnet’s circus, which she praised as being ‘very good, with a wonderful performing bull’.

She was less enchanted when she saw the same circus 10 years later.: "Mr Ginnet himself hath gone off in appearance since I last saw him, when he rode the young roan bull.

"He has subsided into a most disastrous long frock-coat and long tight trousers with about a foot of damp at the bottom of them . . .

"The scornful Madame Ansonia was arrayed in blue and silver, and alighting from her piebald, but on galoshes publicly in the (water-soaked) ring.

"The fair-haired enchantress did not appear unless she had shrivelled into Madame Fontainebleau, who displayed her remarkable dogs in an anxious Cockney accent.”

Despite her disappointment, Miss Potte used her memories as inspiration for her circus novel ‘The Fairy Caravan’.