The home Romantic poet William Wordsworth called “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”, Dove Cottage in Grasmere, has won an almost £5m grant to improve its visitor experience.
The Wordsworth Trust, which owns the Lake District property, will use the Heritage Lottery Fund grant to transform the Wordsworth Museum in time for the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth in 2020, bringing the poet’s story into the 21st century.
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived at Dove Cottage from 1799 to 1808, the period celebrated as as the poet’s 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.
The museum houses an internationally important collection, alongside Dorothy’s Grasmere Journals and other works from the Romantic period. The overhaul will allow more of the important collection to go on display, as well as create multimedia features and interpretation to allow visitors to see how the countryside inspired one of the nation’s greatest poets.
Another old building that currently houses staff will be restored to its original early 19th-century appearance to create a living history display, and there will be better access to the woods and the garden Wordsworth and his sister loved – which have been restored to the wild appearance they favoured.