Are you ready for Cockermouth Georgian Fair weekend?

27 Apr
Wordsworth House retail assistant Bruce dressed in Georgian costume

Here to serve: Retail assistant Bruce channels his inner Georgian


With less than a week to go to Cockermouth’s biannual Georgian Fair weekend, even our shop staff are getting into the late
18th-century spirit.

Of course, here at Wordsworth House and Garden, it’s permanently 1777, the last year William and the rest of the Wordsworth family were all together, so getting ready is just a case of popping up to the costume store to find something that fits and, hopefully, flatters.

I’m sure you’ll agree that retail assistant Bruce, pictured above, has succeeded on that score. If you’ve never worn Georgian clothes, why not pop in over the weekend and try some for yourself? We’ve got outfits in all sizes.

While you’re here, you can join the manservant on a verbal tour of the town as it was in the Wordsworths’ time. The ability to time travel isn’t required though, as the virtual visit to the past takes place in the comfort of our dining room.

His ‘Cockermouth in 15-minutes’ talks, which are free with entry to the house and garden, are at 11.30am and 2.30pm from Saturday, 2 May to Monday, 4 May.

You can also explore our hands-on rooms, sample a Georgian recipe, write with a quill and ink, play with reproduction toys, relax in the garden that helped inspire William to become a poet – and eat some great cake in our cosy café.

To find out what else we’ve got going on, you’ll just have to visit!

Wordsworth’s birthplace needs a special person – is it you?

16 Feb
Alex Morgan, dury manager Wordsworth House

In charge: Alex Morgan, one of the duty managing team


Manager Zoe tells me she has one last staff role to fill before Wordsworth House and Garden is ready to open for the new visitor season on Saturday, March 7.

There’s a gap in the duty managing team and she’s looking for a very special person to fill it on a casual basis.

She explained: “Our duty managers look after our visitors, staff and volunteers, as well as the house itself. The work’s really interesting and varied – no two days are the same – and you get to meet some wonderful people.”

I asked what kind of person she was looking for. She said: “We need someone with excellent customer service and supervisory skills. They must enjoy meeting people, being busy and thinking on their feet.

“It’s a seasonal post running from March to early November, the hours are irregular, and they have to be able to cover holiday and illness at short notice and be happy to work weekends.”

If you think this could be you, ring 01900 824805 for an informal chat, or visit to apply online. The rate of pay is £7.51 an hour, and the closing date is Friday, March 6.

Good luck!

Why not join Wordsworth’s friendly volunteers?

2 Feb
Bill Paul

Members of the house and garden volunteer team with gardener Amanda, left


The people who volunteer at Wordsworth House and Garden play a vital part in making it so friendly and special, and we’re looking for more to join them.

You don’t need to be a history buff or an expert on William’s poetry – all it takes to become part of the team is a warm, enthusiastic manner and a few spare hours a week. We’ll teach you the rest!

Manager Zoe tells me she needs people of all ages to greet and chat to visitors, lead house taster tours, play the replica harpsichord, and work in the café, the garden (where I live) and the shop.

Whether you’ve recently moved to the Cockermouth area or lived here all your life, it’s a great way to meet new friends and learn new skills.

The house is open six days a week, including weekends, meaning it’s easy to fit volunteering around school, work, family or other commitments.

So why not drop in for a cuppa on Saturday, 7 February or Thursday, 12 February, between 10am and 1pm, to find out more?

If you can’t make those dates, email or call us on 01900 824805.

We’ve put Wordsworth’s house to bed for the winter

8 Dec
Making a bed in the children's room

My friends the maids making the bed in the children’s room


Cockermouth by Candlelight, our last event of the year, is over and everything has been put away for the winter at Wordsworth House and Garden.

In the house, the furniture is under dust sheets, the artefacts are wrapped and packed, and the rugs have been rolled up.

Out here in the garden, things are tidy. Poppy, Maisie and Madame Hetty, the Scots Dumpy heritage chickens, have departed for their winter quarters – and I’ll soon be heading off to join them.

But that doesn’t mean the work is over for the year.

Our lovely shop is still open and packed with gorgeous gifts. And my friends in the house and garden teams are busy doing important conservation work, hiring and training seasonal staff, organising activities and events, and generally preparing for when we reopen on Saturday, 7 March.

We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for 2015. Have a look at our website to find out more!

Vote, work or volunteer for us

17 Nov
Wordsworth House cafe

Hands-on: Helen, one of our lovely cafe volunteers

If you’d like to do your bit for Wordsworth House and Garden, I’ve got three options for you. It only takes a minute to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards, or if you have more time to spare, why not apply to work or volunteer here?

Last year, this blog was shortlisted in the Most Innovative category. This time, I’ve been nominated for that and for Arts and Culture. Please click the links below to vote in both!

Vote for me for Most Innovative blog of the year here.

Vote for me in the Arts and Culture category here.

One of the regular staff’s winter tasks is to recruit new seasonal members of the friendly and enthusiastic team who look after this special place and provide our visitors with unforgettable experiences.

There are a wide range of paid roles on offer, including visitor services, café and admin assistants, duty managers, conservation cleaners and costumed servants. All our seasonal jobs are part-time, and contracts run from mid-February next year to early November.

Click here to find out more using the search term “North West”. But hurry – applications close on November 30.

There are also vacancies on the volunteer team for people of all ages and interests to greet and chat to visitors, lead house tours and help in the café, garden and shop.

Volunteers don’t require any particular skills as full training is given. They just need a friendly manner, to enjoy meeting new people – and have a few hours to spare every week or fortnight.

For more information about joining the house or garden volunteer team, email us at or call 01900 824805.

Let’s keep in touch…

3 Nov
Hannah with Fletch

Hand in hand: Me and my new friend Hannah

Elizabeth dressed as Dorothy Wordsworth

In character: Elizabeth dressed as Dorothy Wordsworth

Elizabeth with the dolls' house

Feeling at home: Elizabeth with the dolls’ house

The last of the visitors may have left Wordsworth House and Garden for the year, but I’m in no danger of getting lonely.

There’s lots of winter work scheduled for the coming weeks both indoors and out. As well as routine maintenance and cleaning, I have everything from a wedding tea party to a tree pruning workshop to look forward to.

And who could be lonely when you are sent wonderful fan mail? I was thrilled to receive the photograph above from Hannah, who visited recently with her family to enjoy the late autumn colour in my garden.

Elizabeth has also been in touch after coming to the house to listen to the costumed servants’ ghostly traditional tales during the October holiday week.

Her mum emailed: “She loved the spooky stories and retold them to her brothers in detail. And I just loved the poetry room.”

As the picture on the right shows, Elizabeth also had fun playing with our dolls’ house.

We reopen for 2015 on Saturday, March 7. I hope you’ll come to see us then, take a picture, send a copy – and let me know the highlights of your visit.

Get spooked this autumn!

13 Oct
Costumed servants hard at work in Wordsworth House kitchen

Hard at work: My friends the costumed servants in Wordsworth House kitchen

There’s so much going at on Wordsworth House and Garden this October holiday that I hardly know where to begin. There are family trails, spooky storytelling sessions or kitchen activities every day.

On Monday October 27, Wednesday 29 and Friday 31, you can get cosy by the kitchen fire as my friends the costumed servants tell some of the traditional Cumbrian ghostly tales young William and Dorothy Wordsworth might have enjoyed. Sessions are at 11.30am and 2.30pm and last about 20 minutes. They’re free with entry and suitable for children aged seven and above.

Children can roll up their sleeves and have a go at making clapbread on Tuesday 28 or Sunday 2 November, while on Thursday 30, they can fashion a pastry pumpkin, dinosaur, Tardis – or anything else they fancy. Drop-in sessions run from 11.30am to 3.30pm.

There’s even a chance to listen to the servants’ stories after dark – and explore the whole of William and Dorothy’s childhood home by lamplight – on Saturday 1 November from 6pm to 9pm. Spooky storytelling sessions are at 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, a host of ghostly characters, including 13-year-old William and Bill, the grumpy manservant, have taken up permanent residence in the cellar, where they’re waiting to share their own haunting and often heartbreaking tales of life in this late 18th-century household.

Every day during the holiday week, families can borrow an Explorer Bag full of trails, toys and tools to help them delve into the nooks and crannies of the house and garden. There are also lots of reproduction toys and dressing up clothes in the children’s bedroom.

In the clerk’s office, you can write with a quill and ink. In the kitchen, there’s always a Georgian recipe to taste, and anyone with a musical bent can play the reproduction harpsichord in the drawing room.

We’re open, in the centre of Cockermouth, from 11am to 5pm with last entry at 4pm, so why not come and visit us?

Normal admission price applies to all activities. Entry is free to National Trust members. Call 01900 820884 for more information.


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