Tag Archives: 18th-century kitchen

Roll up your sleeves and experience Georgian life

11 Aug
Making clapbread in the kitchen at Wordsworth House

Hands on: Making clapbread in the kitchen at Wordsworth House

There’s plenty to keep everyone entertained, indoors and out, at Wordsworth House and Garden over the school holidays.

On Mondays, children can head for the working Georgian kitchen, roll up their sleeves and help the costumed servants make clapbread, a traditional Cumbrian recipe.

Tuesdays are wild art days. Adults and children can unleash their creativity and make artworks using found objects ranging from twigs and leaves to feathers and seashells. Our staff have already had a go, and their creations are on show around the house to provide inspiration.

On Wednesdays, the servants – who are hard at work in the house every day during the holidays – give special 10-minute talks on the weird world of Georgian leisure at 11.30am and 2.30pm. Afterwards, visitors can step back in time and find out what it was like to take part in an 18th-century skittles match or card game for themselves.

On Thursdays, children can try some of the 50 things we think everyone should experience before they are 11 ¾, including snail racing and grass trumpet making. If it’s wet, we’ll just move everything indoors!

We’re closed on Fridays, but at weekends families can borrow Explorer Bags full of trails, tools and toys to help them delve further into the nooks and crannies of this fascinating house and garden.

Whatever day you visit, reproduction toys and dressing up clothes – in all sizes – are waiting in the children’s bedroom. The quills and ink are ready in the clerk’s office, while in the kitchen, there’s an 18th-century recipe to taste. And, if you have a musical bent, feel free to pick out a tune on the harpsichord.


Join our volunteer team!

16 Jan
Service with a smile in Wordsworth House café

Service with a smile: Café volunteer Helen

We’re looking for new people to join the lovely volunteer team who help run Wordsworth House and Garden.

There’s no need to have worked in a historic house or garden before. You just need a warm, friendly manner and a desire to learn something new – and to have a few hours a week to spare.

We have vacancies for room guides to chat to visitors in our fabulous working 18th-century kitchen and elsewhere in the house, and for people to lead our new guided tours.

We also need extra help serving our delicious homemade cakes, scones and light lunches in the café – and there’s even a much-coveted vacancy for a garden volunteer to work outside with me in William’s childhood playground!

So whether you want to improve your CV or to do something a bit different now you’re retired, why not pop in and find out more?

We’re holding an informal open morning at the house on Tuesday, 28 January, from 10am-1pm. I look forward to meeting you then!

Or if you can’t make it, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01900 824805 and arrange to see us another time.

Volunteer Kat among the runner beans

Happy at work: Volunteer Kat among the runner beans

Browned off over the Bake Off

12 Sep
012 Wordsworth House - Michael Buerk

Mystery guests: Filming for the new autumn ITV series

I may have mentioned before how much I adore the delicious cakes and scones in our café here at Wordsworth House and Garden, so it’ll be no surprise when I tell you that, like head gardener Amanda, I’m a big fan of The Great British Bake Off.

Frankly, who wouldn’t love watching people create amazing cakes and puddings? As a viewer, you don’t get the joy of eating them, but it’s the next best thing!

So we were very excited when the Bake Off team got in touch recently to say they would like to film the making of a historic baked pudding in our working 18th-century kitchen.

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood weren’t going to be involved, but it was still a thrill to be playing a small but important part in the latest series of such an iconic BBC TV programme.

On the day, the crew and historic food expert Ivan Day arrived, and Rachel, our house steward, helped ensure everything went smoothly for them.

And then came the bad news: we received a very nice email from the production manager, thanking us for allowing them to use our splendid kitchen and explaining that “with so much happening in the tent” they hadn’t been able to include us in the programme.

We were so disappointed. But all was not lost, as we now have an ever bigger slice of TV coverage to look forward to!

Wordsworth House and Garden, along with the North Lakes National Trust ranger team, will be among the stars of a very special new 20-part ITV series to be screened later this autumn.

The exact details are still under wraps, but I’ll tell you more as soon as I can!

Here comes the summer fun at Wordsworth House

10 Jul
American visitors

Looking the part: A family of American visitors get into the 18th-century spirit

Summer is a great time to visit Wordsworth House and Garden if you’re young – or young at heart – as we’ve got a packed programme of activities for all the family.

There are dressing up clothes for all ages and sizes – and lots of reproduction toys – waiting for you in the children’s bedroom. In the clerk’s office, you can write with a quill and ink, while in the kitchen, the servants are always delighted to get help with their chores.

In our newly recreated cellar, design and cut out your own pastry pie top, and in the revamped Wordsworth Room, you can read or write poetry, play word games and explore the dolls’ house.

There’s loads going on in the garden too, including the opportunity to create your very own 18th-century portrait against a beautiful backdrop – just borrow the outfit of your choice from the house and get into character!

Chris Jackson

In the frame: Visitor Chris Jackson creates his own 18th-century-style portrait

If you’ve got poetry in your soul or enjoy reading a bit of children’s verse, visit our amazing poetry tree in the small walled garden. And if inspiration strikes, you can even add your own contribution.

We’ve also got special additional activities each day from 20 July to 1 September.

On Saturdays, join us at 11.30am or 2.30pm, when the servants will be talking about how Georgians of all classes amused themselves. Then, why not try your hand at a game of cards or skittles 18th-century style?

There will be special talks and tastings, also at 11.30am and 2.30pm, every Sunday.

On Mondays, again at 11.30am and 2.30pm, there’s our very splendid new All-a-Buzz family garden activity. Learn about bugs, bees and butterflies – and taste some edible plants.


All-a-Buzz: Come and find out about bumblebees

On Tuesdays, head for the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and learn to make clapbread. Drop in any time between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

Herbs and hedgerows are the subject of our fascinating Wednesday talks (again at 11.30am and 2.30pm). From poisonous puddings to nettle cloth, find out about the bizarre ways the Georgians used herbs and foraged plants.

Thursdays are your chance to catch a pastry fish – get creative in the kitchen any time between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

And, finally, on Fridays, we all be taking a well-earned day off, as it’s the one day of the week that we’re closed!

Eat and drink like the Wordsworths

26 Jun

Syllabub at Wordsworth House

Because I spend my life surrounded by Georgian vegetables and fruit, I’m always interested in opportunities to learn more about how they would have dined in the 18th century – and now there’s a brilliant chance for you to do the same.

Join us at Wordsworth House and Garden on Wednesday, 10 July for an exclusive Georgian dining experience. Or come along tomorrow, Friday, 28 June, to enjoy some delicious wines and cheeses, and learn about 18th-century drinking habits.

Tomorrow night you can join Nick and Wendy from Shills of Cockermouth and the Wordsworth House and Garden team at 6pm for a very special wine and cheese tasting in our dining room and Georgian kitchen.

It includes an out-of-hours view of the house. Tickets are £25 each and booking is essential. Call us on 01900 824805 to reserve your place.

On Wednesday, July 10, there’s an exclusive opportunity to dine like a Georgian.

Arrive at 5pm to enjoy drinks and cookery demonstrations in our 18th-century kitchen by my friends, the costumed servants. Learn some simple-to-replicate Georgian recipes to impress at your next dinner party, and have an evening view of the house.

You will then retire to the Trout Hotel next door for a three-course Georgian meal, which includes some of the delicacies demonstrated. Tickets are £50 per person and, again, booking is essential – ring the number above to secure your place.

I wish I could go!

We’re on TV this week!

7 Jan

Sophia, aka '"the maid-of-all-work"

Happy New Year everyone!

Wordsworth House and Garden is about to make its appearance on former Corrie star Sean Wilson’s new food show The Great Northern Cookbook.

Tune in to Channel 5 at 8pm on Thursday, January 10, to see my friend Sophia, the maid-of-all-work (pictured above with me), helping Sean cook a full Georgian dinner in our amazing 18th-century kitchen. As well as working only with historic equipment, he uses recipes from the period, which means he has no cooking times, temperatures or quantities to help him.

And when it comes time to sample what he’s produced, keep your eyes peeled in the dining room scene for gardener Amanda and her lovely helper Kat.

To whet your appetite, there’s a little glimpse of what he achieved towards the end of this trailer.

Bottoms up – it’s time to roll!

27 Dec

Now that we’ve closed the doors of Wordsworth House to the public for the winter, we’re getting down to some distinctly unglamorous tasks, rolling carpets, dismantling our working Georgian kitchen and generally putting everything to bed until we reopen in early March.

Tracey, one of our very experienced conservation cleaners, says that although she enjoys her work at this time of year, getting everything clean, wrapped up in tissue or cloth and put away, it isn’t as much fun as when she and her colleague Liz get to reawaken the house in the spring. She says they often forget what’s in each package and opening them is a little like going through a treasure chest of lovely surprises!

Here’s our dining room before and after Tracey, Liz and their boss, House Steward Rachel, have done their work…

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