Helen Beatrix Potter was born on July 28, 1866 in Kensington Square, London, to Rupert Potter and Helen Leech, but the name Helen was dropped so as not to confuse her with her mother. Both parents having an inheritance from the cotton trade, life in the Potter household was easy and in want for nothing. Rupert Potter was a non-practicing barrister and amateur photographer.
Beatrix Potter spent a sheltered childhood with her brother Bertram, who was five years younger. She amused herself by painting, using specimens from the Natural History Museum or sketching nature in the Lake District, where the family spent summer holidays.
Potter also had pets, including rabbits. She never went to school, but was taught at home by a governess.
At the time of the 1901 census, aged 34, she still lived at her parents' house in London, a place she once described as "my unloved birthplace".