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Inver Mill

Charles McIntosh

Charles McIntosh & Beatrix Potter and their common bond in the Natural History of the Dunkeld and Birnam Area.

Most people will have heard of Beatrix Potter, the writer of children’s stories. Far fewer will recognise the name of Charles McIntosh the rural postman from Inver, near Dunkeld. These two very different individuals, brought together by a common interest in fungi, met and subsequently exchanged letters and specimens over a number of years. This is the story of their fascinating acquaintance.

The setting is the area around Dunkeld, Birnam and Inver, some twelve miles north of Perth at the gateway to the Highlands.

Helen Beatrix Potter

For eleven consecutive summers, the Potter family came to Dalguise House near Dunkeld. Their only daughter, Beatrix was four when the family first travelled by train to Scotland in 1870. In 1884 when Beatrix was about 18 she wrote in her diary:

“Even when the thunder growled in the distance, and the wind swept up the valley in fitful gusts, oh it was always beautiful, home sweet home, I knew nothing of trouble then.”

These long holidays first awakened the interest of the young girl to the delights of wildlife and nature.

Charles McIntosh

Charles was born in Inver in 1839 in the cottage where he was to spend his entire life. His father, also Charles, was a hand-loom weaver, famous fiddle player and music teacher. His mother Mary was a descendent of the MacDonalds of Glencoe.

This story of this ‘Fascinating Acquaintance’ is the subject of the exhibition in the Birnam Institute.

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