On Saturday, 5 December, the rivers Cocker and Derwent, which flow through Cockermouth, burst their banks and flooded the town centre, including Wordsworth House and Garden.
By Monday morning, most of the water – which had been up to five-feet deep – was gone, leaving behind a sea of mud and silt.
As in 2009, the last time Cockermouth was badly flooded, the house itself was largely unscathed. However, our shop, reception area and cellars were inundated, and we have a great deal of cleaning up, drying out and refitting to do.
My beautiful heritage garden, where William learned his love of nature, has been particularly badly hit.
Gardener Amanda told me the damage looks to be worse than in 2009, even though the water level was lower.
She said: “Although, this time, it didn’t bring down any walls or the terrace where William and his sister Dorothy loved to play, we’re expecting to lose more of our heritage plants.
“This is because the mud left behind is much thicker than it was six years ago, meaning many more plants are likely to die from suffocation. We’re also expecting a lot more rain, which will stress them further when they’re vulnerable.”
Amanda added: “As in 2009, our insurance won’t cover the loss of our heritage plants, so we’ll face a substantial bill for replanting. It’ll be a while before we know just how much this will be, as we can’t begin the process of trying to save them until a cleaning company has been in to hose down the paths and shed to remove contamination and make it safe for the staff and volunteer team to work.
“There will be a delay before this can happen, as the professional cleaners’ priority obviously has to be sanitising the many homes that have been flooded, so the people who’ve been affected can start their own clean-up operations.”
Despite the hard work ahead, we aim to reopen for 2016 as planned on 12 March.
In the meantime, we’ve had offers of help and donations from as far away as China. If you’d like to help us by donating towards the cost of replacement plants, please email Ross.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you – we look forward to welcoming you to a restored Wordsworth House and Garden in 2016.