Wordsworth House Prepares For William’s 250th Birthday
Next year will see the 250th anniversary of poet William Wordsworth’s birth, and preparations have already begun at his childhood home, on Cockermouth’s Main Street.
Restoration work on Wordsworth House’s garden walls will start on Monday 5 August, and shortly after this is completed, the front of the building will be covered with scaffolding and re-limewashed.
Wordsworth House and Garden visitor experience manager Zoe Gilbert said: ‘Next year will be a very important one for us – and, we hope, for the town as a whole – in terms of additional visitors, so we’re starting to get ready now. We’re busy creating a 2020 exhibition focusing on William’s childhood here and how it influenced the rest of his life, and we’ll have a programme of linked talks and other events. Meanwhile, we want to ensure the house is looking its best for his special anniversary year, so we’re renovating the garden walls and redecorating the front before colder weather makes these jobs more difficult.’
Low Sand Lane, on the west side of Wordsworth House, will be closed to vehicles from 5 August for up to six weeks to allow the wall work to take place. However, pedestrian access to the riverside walk will be unaffected.
Zoe added: ‘One of the most striking things about the house’s exterior is its colour. We found traces of terracotta limewash under the eaves, so this is the shade we keep it. The run off from the stone windowsills means it doesn’t stay pristine for long – and we can be pretty certain it would have looked this way in the Wordsworths’ day, as they were only tenants and couldn’t have afforded to re-limewash it every time streaks appeared. It was last done in 2015, and we think William would be pleased that we’re giving it a facelift in readiness for his birthday celebrations on 7 April next year.'
Wordsworth House and Garden was presented to the National Trust and opened in June 1939 after a campaign by the people of Cockermouth to prevent it being knocked down and turned into a bus station gained worldwide support.