Tag Archives: costumed servant

Get closer to nature this half-term

29 May
WWH three boys by Val Corbett

Hunting for bugs in William’s childhood garden. Picture: Val Corbett

Come rain or shine, there’s plenty to enjoy over the school holiday week at William’s childhood home. We’re open every day from Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June.

On Saturday and Sunday, go wild like William and Dorothy with a Dumbledore and Horniegoggle explorer bag. Hunt for surprising creatures and weird words in the house and garden, and get tips on how to turn your own backyard into a nature haven.

On Monday, join the costumed servants in the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and have a go at making traditional Cumberland clapbread. The theme on Tuesday is wild art: materials are supplied – all you need to bring is your imagination.

Drop in on Wednesday to write a letter with a quill and ink then seal it with wax. On Thursday and Friday, join the servants at 11.30am or 2.30pm for an informal family garden tour to taste flowers and search for bugs!

Whatever day you visit, there’s also a choice of indoor and outdoor children’s trails to follow. You’ll find reproduction toys and dressing up clothes – in all sizes – in the children’s bedroom, a giant magnetic storytelling game and drawing materials in the Discovery Room, and, if the rain stays off, there are skittles and poetry stones to play with in the back courtyard.

Meanwhile, grown-ups can enjoy our stunning Word-Hoard photographic exhibition, chat to the costumed servants or explore our award-winning heritage garden. When the sun shines, there’s no lovelier place to be!

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Time to put Wordsworth House to bed

21 Nov
Making a bed in the children's room

The costumed servants make the children’s bed at Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House and Garden may be closed for the winter, but behind the Grade I listed walls and lime-washed façade, the work continues.

Almost as soon as poet William’s childhood home shut at the end of October, the housekeeping team began packing small and fragile items in tissue, swathing larger ones in bespoke dust covers, and rolling rugs onto lengths of drainpipe to let the fibres relax.

House steward Rachel Painter says: “The house has a very different feel without the bustle and noise of visitors and a full staff and volunteer team. It’s still and quiet and I’m much more aware of the creaks and groans associated with an old building.

“I enjoy this period and the opportunity to get some things done which aren’t possible at other times. It’s like carrying out a giant stock take of the house and the collection.

“The dressing up clothes are sorted for repairs, the beds are stripped and the blankets put in the freezer to kill any potential bugs, and tissue hats made for smaller items like candlesticks. The worst job has to be scrubbing the blackened pots the costumed servants use for cooking over the open fire.”

Out in the award-winning garden, head gardener Amanda Thackeray and her volunteers are just as busy.

She explains: “We have lots of heritage apple trees, and this is the ideal time to prune them to control their shape and encourage next year’s crop. Bubble wrap becomes a real ally – we put it round plant pots as, just like us humans, they like an extra blanket in winter.

“We’re also cutting down our tall herbaceous perennials, but where we can, we leave parts of the garden uncleared to act as a snug winter home for beneficial insects.”

Work at Wordsworth’s childhood home

8 Nov

The Reception at Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Would you like to work at Wordsworth House next year – or do you know someone who might?

We have a range of part-time staff vacancies for 2017, so please spread the word! If you have great people skills and bags of enthusiasm, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re looking for membership and visitor welcome assistants, costumed servants (customer service assistants), duty managers (visitor experience assistants), cafe and cleaning staff.

But hurry – applications close on 21 November. To find out more and apply, go to www.nationaltrustjobs.org.uk

Go wild this summer like Beatrix and William

20 Jul
SONY DSC

Dressing up Georgian-style at Wordsworth House

Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth’s fellow Lakeland wild child, was born 150 years ago this summer, and we’re celebrating with a packed programme of family events and activities she and William would have loved.

Come rain or shine, there’s something exciting going on every day at Wordsworth House and Garden (except Friday, when we’re closed) from Sunday 24 July to Sunday 4 September.

On Thursday 28 July, from 11.30am to 3.30pm, we’re holding a special party in the garden to mark the day Beatrix was born – if it rains, we’ll move everything inside. There’ll be storytelling, lots of fun things to do and free birthday cake. Children bringing a picnic lunch or tea plus a favourite toy can get the whole family in free to enjoy the festivities.

Do something different…

Whatever day you visit, you can dress up as a Georgian, play with toys like William’s, make up a story with our giant magnetic quilt game, follow a trail round the house based on Beatrix’s characters, or simply let off steam in our lovely heritage garden.

On Saturdays and Sundays, children can delve into the nooks and crannies of this amazing house or hunt for bugs in the garden with the help of a family explorer bag.

Mondays are the day to join the costumed servants in the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and have a go at making clapbread. Just drop in any time between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

On Tuesdays, if it’s sunny, our modern-day ‘Miss Potter’ will be in the garden reading some of her little books. Take a seat on our rugs – or if it’s wet, get cosy by the kitchen fire – for The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin at 11.30am, or The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle at 2.30pm.

On Tuesday 2 and 16 August, our artist-in-residence, Sarah Kate Smith, will be drawing the kind of domestic and garden scenes Beatrix loved, so why not join her for some sketching? We’ll supply the materials, and all ages and abilities are welcome to drop in between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

Kate drawing

Sarah Kate Smith sketching in the garden

Find out about the weird world of Georgian leisure on Wednesdays with a special 10-minute talk by one of the servants, then have a game of skittles in the courtyard or play with traditional toys in the children’s bedroom. Talks are at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

On Thursdays the theme is wild art: join us in the cellar to make stick figures, crazy pinecone creatures or colourful animal masks – all you need to bring is your imagination.

Meanwhile, grown-ups can enjoy our new exhibition, Beatrix Potter and a Love of the Northern Lakes, which reveals the local places that inspired her.

Whatever the weather, we look forward to seeing you at Wordsworth House and Garden this summer!

Seven brilliant reasons to visit Wordsworth House

8 Jun

June is a wonderful time to be out and about in the Lake District, and there are few better ways to spend a day than to visit Wordsworth House and Garden, birthplace and childhood home of one of the world’s favourite poets.

Here are seven very good reasons why…

  1. It’s your last chance to see Beatrix’s drawings

William Wordsworth isn’t the only Lakeland literary legend we’re celebrating this year. 2016 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. Without her foresight in buying and protecting large areas of the Lake Disctict and, later, gifting them to the National Trust, this beautiful part of the country wouldn’t be the place of respite and refreshment it is today.

This month is the last chance to see Two Bad Mice: Mischief in Beatrix Potter’s Tales, a major exhibition of her artwork at Wordsworth House. If you haven’t been yet, make sure you visit before 30 June, to revisit the magic of childhood through more than 20 of her beautifully observed original illustrations.

  1. William’s garden is looking glorious

June is also one of the very best months to enjoy the lovely heritage walled garden that provided Wordsworth with life-long inspiration.

Head gardener Amanda Thackeray will be leading tours on Tuesday 14 and 21 June at 11.30am. These are free with entry to the house and garden, but groups are small and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please arrive in plenty of time.

  1. You deserve a special treat

Our shop is packed with lovely gifts and souvenirs – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to treating yourself or a loved one.

When you’ve finished browsing, our cosy café serves indulgent cream teas, so why not join us for a cuppa and a homemade scone topped with clotted cream and jam? Independent blog National Trust Scones says ours are ‘divine’! We also offer light lunches – including local delicacy Morecambe Bay potted shrimps – and lots of lovely cake.

  1. You can hear about Two Wild Children

Every Wednesday and Saturday in June, at 11.30am, the costumed servants will be giving a special ten-minute talk entitled Two Wild Children, about how the natural world shaped both Beatrix and William.

  1. Our artist is in residence

On Friday 17 June, there’s a chance to join our artist-in-residence, Sarah Kate Smith, to try your hand at sketching or painting the kind of kitchen and garden objects Beatrix delighted in. To book your place in this friendly art class for all abilities, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01900 824805.

  1. Even the toilets have had a makeover

This year we unveiled a new visitor welcome area and Discovery Room, with a permanent exhibition about William’s Lakeland legacy and his key role in the founding of the National Trust.

There’s a new 10-minute film playing in the cellar about how William and his sister Dorothy changed the world, and – following last December’s devastating flooding – even the toilets have had a dramatic makeover.

  1. The drive is Britain’s best

If you’re travelling from the central or southern Lakes, Cockermouth is around 45 minutes from Ambleside – and the drive on the A591, through the fells and along the side of Thirlmere, is officially Britain’s best!

We look forward to welcoming you to Wordsworth House and Garden very soon.

Help us celebrate reopening

8 Mar
Wordsworth House artist in residence Sarah Kate Smith

Wordsworth House and Garden artist-in-residence Sarah Kate Smith

William Wordsworth’s childhood home reopens on Saturday 12 March with a bright new look – and free entry for locals all weekend to celebrate.

Like much of central Cockermouth, the historic house and garden were badly hit by December’s flooding, and our staff and contractors have worked non-stop over the winter to repair the damage and make some exciting alterations.

There are new Discovery and Exhibition rooms, containing displays and family activities, and a specially made 10-minute film playing in the cellar. The shop is now an attractive visitor welcome area, including a refreshed retail section, and even the toilets are getting a stylish 19th-century makeover!

We want local people to be among the first to experience the transformation, so anyone with a CA postcode can visit free this weekend. All you need to do is show proof of address.

The Discovery Room has a family area, including a giant magnetic storytelling game, and a permanent exhibition about William’s Lakeland legacy and key role in the creation of the National Trust, while our new film explains how he and his sister, Dorothy, changed the world.

2016 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of children’s author and Lakeland farmer Beatrix Potter. To mark this, our first temporary exhibition, which will open for Easter and run until 30 June, includes almost 30 of her original drawings.

Two Bad Mice: Mischief in Beatrix Potter’s Tales, the first of two major exhibitions about her this year at Wordsworth’s birthplace, revisits the magic of childhood through her beautifully observed illustrations.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays in term time, at 11.30am, our costumed servants will be giving a special ten-minute talk entitled Two Wild Children, about how the natural world shaped both Beatrix and William.

Meanwhile, a series of Friday morning art classes for all abilities, run by artist-in-residence Sarah Kate Smith, offer anyone who enjoys sketching the opportunity to draw the type of domestic objects and garden scenes Beatrix loved.

The classes, which are on 18 March, 15 April, 20 May, 17 June, 23 September and 21 October, include morning coffee and a light lunch. They cost £35 each, or £30 if attending three or more, and all materials are kindly provided by the Derwent Cumberland Pencil Company. To book, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01900 824805.

We’re open Saturday to Thursday, 11am-5pm (last entry 4pm). Entry to the exhibition, which closes at 4pm, is free with admission to the house and garden.

 

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.

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