The Wordsworth Trust has secured support* for a £4.75m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to transform the Wordsworth story in Grasmere, in the heart of the Lake District.

The Wordsworth Trust’s world-class collection will be reinvigorated, historic buildings will become a hub for visitors, and the exploration of themes such as the human mind, democracy and our relationship with nature will bring the Wordsworth story into the 21st century.

Known as the global centre for British Romanticism, the Wordsworth Trust looks after Dove Cottage in the hamlet of Town End, where Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy from 1799 to 1808, the period celebrated as his golden decade.

It was during this time that Wordsworth penned the immortal line ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, inspired by the daffodils he and Dorothy saw on the shores of Ullswater.

In fact, the majority of his most famous work was written in the cottage, and the adjacent Wordsworth Museum houses an internationally important collection, alongside Dorothy’s Grasmere Journals and other work from the Romantic period. The project will allow more of this collection to go on display and be brought to life with multimedia features and interpretation.

Existing buildings will be sensitively converted into a central visitor centre providing a much-needed place for people to begin their visit, and greater public access to gardens and woodlands will connect visitors with the landscape which inspired one of the nation’s greatest poets. Other changes to this historic site will ensure that visitors from across the world can have a better and more memorable experience.

No significant changes are envisaged for Dove Cottage itself, as its charm lies in its authenticity.

The original manuscripts of Wordsworth’s poetry will become a key element in involving people in the world of Wordsworth so that they can understand how he worked to perfect thoughts and ideas that are still so relevant today.

In short, the grant will transform Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum from an attraction to a destination, enhance the Wordsworth Story, and draw more visitors to Grasmere to the benefit of the local economy.

Wordsworth Trust Director Michael McGregor (left) said, “No visit to the Lake District is complete without a visit to Grasmere, to experience inspirational poetry in, as Wordsworth wrote, ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’. 

“Thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, over the next four years we can ‘reimagine’ Wordsworth, bringing his life and work to an even wider audience."

The grant has been made possible by National Lottery players. Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West (right), said: “Wordsworth’s very name epitomises just how integral he is to the British literary story, and Town End offers a unique opportunity to explore his works within the beautiful setting that inspired them. We are delighted to support these plans which promise to transform the Wordsworth story for a modern audience to enjoy. We look forward to seeing the plans take shape.”

 

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.
 
www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery
 
*Heritage Grant applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.