Donate now

Introducing our new design team

(November 2016)
Architect and Interpretation Designer appointed for the development phase of the Wordsworth Trust transformation project, Reimagining Wordsworth.

The Wordsworth Trust have made two significant appointments this month for the development phase of an ambitious project, made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to transform Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in advance of the poet’s 250th birthday in 2020.

Conservation and heritage experts Purcell have been appointed as Architect, led by Robert Chambers, Partner. With considerable expertise in the conservation of sensitive buildings and monuments, finding creative ways to guide redevelopment of a site and context, and with an emphasis on sustainability and legacy, Purcell are ideally suited to help the Wordsworth Trust on this phase of the project.

Robert Chambers, Partner at architects Purcell said: ‘We are delighted to have been appointed to help the Wordsworth Trust realise their vision for Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum. Surrounded by the magnificent landscape which inspired Wordsworth, there is great opportunity to draw together the rich experiences of this internationally significant site, enhance the experience for visitors and engage new audiences. Our challenge is to make the site work for today’s visitors, using sensitive conservation and contemporary design to ensure that we maintain the special quality of the place. Delivering these new facilities will help to inspire a new generation of visitors to engage with Wordsworth’s revolutionary words and themes.’

Nissen Richards Studio have been appointed as Interpretation Planner and Designer, with a team led by Pippa Nissen. Recent projects include the five star Colour and Vision exhibition at the
Natural History Museum, and the studio also acted as the lead consultant for You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 which opened in September 2016 at the V&A.

The next twelve months will see them working closely with the Trust to create a clear and exciting narrative around William Wordsworth, identifying the key themes and stories associated with the site and the surrounding landscape.

‘We are extremely excited to be working on this gem of a project. It includes different elements across the site, including the extraordinarily beautiful landscape and its relationship to the buildings as well as the poetry, as part of the experience. The story of Reimagining Wordsworth is multi-layered, and we need to find a coherent voice to bring together a rich and complex subject. A wonderful challenge.’Pippa Nissen, Director, Nissen Richards Studio

The appointment of these prestigious firms marks the start of a twelve-month period of development and consultation that will incorporate feedback from the Trust’s existing and target audiences, as well as stakeholders and partners.

Michael McGregor, Director of the Wordsworth Trust, remarked on the new appointments:

“After many years of planning, we were delighted to secure a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to ‘Reimagine’ Wordsworth in time for the poet’s 250th birthday in 2020. The appointment of Purcell and Nissen Richards sees us move into an exciting new phase. Over the next twelve months we will work with them to explore how our site and our activities can develop, to ensure that as many people as possible can be part of, and can benefit from, this exciting project.”

Reimagining Wordsworth

Reimagining Wordsworth is the culmination of many years in the planning by the team at the Wordsworth Trust. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020, the 250th anniversary year of William Wordsworth’s birth.

The ambitious project aims to bring Wordsworth’s poetry and legacy alive for new and existing audiences, creating a dynamic and inclusive conversation around the poet’s contemporary relevance in the UK and beyond.

Reimagining Wordsworth will incorporate two distinct elements. The first is the transformation of Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, a literary heritage destination that will be sensitively enhanced to offer a more integrated and stimulating visitor experience, from the museum to the visitor facilities. While still in the early phases of planning, the project will work to incorporate the landscape in which the Trust is situated, further connecting the poet and his works with the hills, lakes and woodland that so inspired him.

The second element is the reinterpretation of the manuscripts and collection housed on site, leading to a fresh understanding of Wordsworth’s importance and his cultural legacy. Jeff Cowton, Curator and Head of Learning at the Wordsworth Trust comments that the project is ‘an opportunity to experience William and Dorothy’s words in their freshness, as if we were alive in their time with their context and concerns. The project will allow more people to vividly feel their  words and their meanings, broadening the appeal of the poet and his work.’

The Trust will draw on the significant expertise of their existing team, Trustees and stakeholders, along with a team of consultants, to pioneer multi-sensory and multimedia approaches to the interpretation, reinvigorating the Wordsworth Trust’s site for a 21st Century audience.

The Wordsworth Trust are conducting a fundraising campaign to raise the final £1 million needed to make the project a reality.

Notes to Editors

Wordsworth Trust:
Dove Cottage was the home of one of Britain’s greatest poets, William Wordsworth, who was instrumental in founding the Romantic movement. He lived at the cottage during what is termed his ‘golden decade’, moving into the former pub with his sister, Dorothy just before Christmas, 1799. It was here that he wrote the majority of his most famous works, including ‘The Prelude’ and ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’.

The Wordsworth Trust was founded in 1890 to preserve Dove Cottage, and the surrounding hamlet Town End. The Trust is an independent charity, funded by a combination of visitor income, donations from privateand corporate sponsors and trusts, Arts Council England and South Lakeland District Council.

Known as the global centre for British Romanticism, Town End is home to Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum and the Jerwood Centre. As well as the historic buildings of Town End, the Wordsworth Trust looks  after an important collection of works by Wordsworth and the other writers and artists of the period, including Dorothy’s Grasmere Journals. At the heart of this collection are the manuscripts that Wordsworth’s  descendants gave to the Trust in 1935 so that they could remain at Dove Cottage. These are housed in the Jerwood Centre when not on show in the Wordsworth Museum.

In February 2016, the Trust was awarded a first round pass* from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a£4.75m grant to transform the Wordsworth story. Pending a second-round approval from the HLF, work on the scheme is expected to start in Spring 2018 and be completed by Spring 2020.

November 2016 saw South Lakeland (Cumbria) listed as one of the top three areas for heritage activity in the RSA Heritage Index, produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Heritage Lottery Fund:
*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.

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. @heritagelottery

Our practice works as one family of many experts: architects, designers, heritage leaders, and specialist consultants. Ideally placed in key regions covering the UK and Asia Pacific, we undertake projects largely in eight sectors. Clients come to us when they need to make sense of their project. Complex scenarios  involving historic sites, heritage buildings, admired places and their transformation, and building new structures and spaces. We have been practising for seven decades making sure our clients’ buildings are designed for use today and for future generations. @Purcelluk

Nissen Richard Studio:
Nissen Richards studio was established in 2010. We specialise in architecture, exhibition and theatre  design. Pippa Nissen was previously a founding partner of award winning architectural practice Nissen Adams, and Jim Richards joined a year later from Richards Partington Architects where he had been director for eight years.

For further information on Reimagining Wordsworth please contact Lucy Dundas, Communications Consultant for the project at Flint PR: 020 3463 2085