THE location of a photograph featuring Beatrix Potter in Cornwall has been identified thanks to some detective work by a local historian.

Aged 27, Miss Potter stayed at the Pendennis Hotel in Falmouth, and was photographed by her father Rupert on March 31, 1894, sitting in a small boat, with a bearded fisherman/captain to her left.

In the background are two distinctive buildings: one appears to be a small waterside boathouse, the other a long building with a sloped end.

The location was identified by Cornish historian Barry West as Froe Creek on the Roseland Peninsula.

“Until last summer, this location was not known to the Beatrix Potter Society,” said Mr West, who has also made his name as an expert on Charles Dickens’ activities in Cornwall.

“After three years of painstakingly searching for the spot where Rupert Potter took the photograph, I was finally able to pinpoint it when Tash Berks [owner of Falmouth shop Bookmark] suggested I look at Froe Creek, where there was once a tidal mill.

“The two buildings still look virtually the same, so make an excellent reference point. There is also a significant house in the image that is now partly obscured by a more recent development.

“A mystery that had remained unsolved for decades has finally been concluded.”

In a letter dated March 28, 1894, to Eric Moore, son of her former governess, Miss Potter wrote: “I have read about the owl and the pussy cat, who went to sea in a pea-green boat, but I never saw anything of that kind till today.”

She goes on to create a story about a pig who lives on board a ship but flees in a little rowing boat when the ship's cook wants to make it into sausages. The story seems an early inspiration for Potter's Tale of Little Pig Robinson.

Just over 50 people came to St Mawes on Easter Saturday to commemorate Miss Potter’s visit. Families were greeted by the Easter Bunny on arrival, with Easter eggs delivered by vintage cars. The Pilot Gig Club decorated the old fuel pumps, and children learned what the gigs were built for, as well as exploring the Tudor castle.

Saffron buns were provided by St Mawes Bakery, and transport was arranged with Go Cornwall buses and the St Mawes ferry to Falmouth, on choppy seas.

Families learned about the history of the castle, and were able to experience holding rabbits and guinea pigs at Tresanton Hotel.

“Beatrix would have approved of this, as it was something she did as a child, and no doubt inspired her writing,” said Mr West, thanking the businesses, individuals and groups who contributed to the event. “The children were truly walking in Beatrix Potter’s footsteps - special memories were made.”