Donate now

Great news! Our first-round HLF application has been successful

(February 2016)
Wordsworth Trust wins HLF funding

The Lake District hamlet where William Wordsworth wrote the Daffodils poem is set for a major overhaul ahead of his 250th birthday in 2020.

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 Museum’s world-class collection will be reinvigorated and expanded, 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, Town End is home to Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum, where Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived 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 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. Other changes to this historic site will ensure that visitors from across the world can have a better and more memorable experience.

Across the site, particularly in the museum, larger windows will allow visitors to connect with the landscape,  greater public access to gardens and woodlands will connect visitors with the landscape which inspired one of the nation’s greatest poets.

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 & The Wordsworth Museum from an attraction to a destination, drawing more visitors to Grasmere and benefitting the local economy.

The news comes as the Wordsworth Trust celebrates the 125th anniversary since it formed to save Dove Cottage for the nation. On its first day, the cottage had four visitors, including a lady from Chicago who stumbled upon it by chance. Today, Town End welcomes around 50,000 visitors each year from all over the world and the Trust hopes this project will enhance the Wordsworth Story for even more people.

Wordsworth Trust Director, Michael McGregor 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 Wordsworth Trust is 125 years old this year – I can’t think of a better birthday present!”

The grant has been made possible by National Lottery players. Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, 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.
*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