Tag Archives: Georgian kitchen

Calling all budding poets – and house detectives

17 Jul
Fluttering: Leaves of literature

Fluttering: Leaves of literature

The school holidays are upon us and that means Wordsworth House’s poetry tree is in full bloom once more!

Last year, Head Gardener Amanda had the brainwave of hanging one of our apple trees with poems – and encouraging visitors of all ages to add verses of their own.

Before long, the branches were groaning with leaves of literature – even TV presenter Michael Buerk, who was visiting to film for TV series Inside the National Trust, contributed a rhyme.

We’re open from Saturday to Thursday from 11am to 5pm (last entry 4pm) throughout the holidays – and there are special events and activities every day.

As well as flexing their literary muscles, visitors can meet the Wordsworths’ servants and help with their chores, explore the hands-on rooms, write with a quill pen and ink, dress up in replica 18th-century costume and play with reproduction toys.

On Mondays, grown ups can take in a short talk about the bizarre ways the Georgians used herbs and foraged plants, and on Wednesdays, they can learn about William’s poetic influences (talks at 11.30am and 2.30pm both days).

On Tuesdays, children can get busy in the kitchen making clapbread, and on Thursdays, they can turn out a pastry fish (drop in either day between 11.30am and 3.30pm).

On Saturdays and Sundays, the whole family can turn house detective, delving into the nooks and crannies of this amazing home and garden with a family explorer bag.

Entry to Wordsworth House and Garden is £7.40 for adults, £3.70 for children and £18.50 for families. National Trust members enter free.

Visit our website or call us on 01900 820884 for more details.

PS If you enjoyed watching Amanda and my other friends on Inside the National Trust – or if you missed them – DVDs of the entire series are now on sale in Wordsworth House’s shop.



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!

Special delivery from Captain Skim

29 Apr
Captain Skim

In his element: Captain Skim, aka ranger Mark Astley, demonstrates his skill

As you know, I’m no stranger to the world of celebrity – and super heroes, in particular. I’m already friends with Spider Man (Look who came to visit, April 8) and last week I was thrilled when Captain Skim came to see me and make a delivery for Amanda.

For those of you who don’t know him, the Captain is a member of the National Trust’s Fantastic Five elite ranger team, along with Midas the Treasure Hunter, Tree Man, Bug Catcher and Den Boy. As their names suggest, they all have a special skill that they share with visitors.

Captain Skim – alter ego Mark Astley – is a world-class stone skimmer, who works in our North Lakes ranger team. He was dropping off birch brashings and hazel and willow poles for our garden team to construct pea tunnels and broad bean frames.

Nowadays, most people use canes, but these weren’t available in the 18th-century, when our garden was the childhood playground of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Whatever period of garden you have, brashings will look much more attractive.

If you would like to make some, Amanda says the brashings for peas need to be fresh, otherwise they’ll snap when you try to work with them. Simply weave them together into a tunnel shape – you shouldn’t even need any string.

For the bean poles, thrash them into a series of triangular shapes, connecting with a pole running along the top. Then weave flexible poles between them lower down on either side, to give the structure strength and for the beans to hold onto.

On one side, we grow runner beans and on the other we put sweet peas, as it looks so pretty. Amanda trails lengths of hemp string down the sweet pea side, to give them something extra to anchor to.

The picture below shows Jean and Aine hard at work. If you’re wondering what the colourful, woolly structure beside them is have a look back at A heads-up about fun to come from February 19!

Making pea tunnels

Weaving: Jean and Aine making pea tunnels

Meet the maids – and the manservant

29 Mar
Wordsworth House servants visit Dove Cottage

On holiday: The Wordsworth House servants visit Dove Cottage, former home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth

Our costumed servants enjoyed their annual day’s holiday last week, despite the wintry conditions, visiting Wordsworth’s other homes – Dove Cottage, Allan Bank and Rydal Mount – in Grasmere.

William and his sister Dorothy used to walk miles each day, come rain or shine, and the servants felt distinctly Wordsworthian as they tramped through the snow to keep their appointments.

The teams at the houses they went to were amazed that they hadn’t cancelled and stayed warm in Cockermouth – but our servants are made of sterner stuff than that. (Lovely Chris at Allan Bank even blogged about it.)

Many of our servants are seasoned travellers – and all have had interesting lives.

New maid Ruth Akers once went on a plant collecting expedition on the second highest mountain in Belize, while Helen Helm – who’s in her second year with us – has swum with penguins and seals off the Galapagos Islands.

Their line manager Alex Morgan spent two months travelling around Europe on a double decker bus with 22 other people, and Gwen Irving, another new recruit, has driven the Flying Scotsman train.

Gwen’s husband Keith – our new manservant – has a second job as Cockermouth’s town crier. Rachael Marrs and Lynne Wild, who have both been with us for several years, also have part-time jobs as a nurse and an assistant on the local newspaper.

Meanwhile, Sophia Atcha, who is also in her second year as a maid, is a talented make-up artist who worked on the film East is East, and now provides a make-up service for brides on their special day.

Sophia in the kitchen

Daily grind: Sophia hard at work in the kitchen

Helen tidying the children's bedroom

Nurse maid: Helen tidying the children’s bedroom

Dress and live like a Georgian

25 Feb

WWH smiling visitor green dress

We reopen for the 2013 season on Saturday, March 9 and have a packed programme of activities and events for the whole family.

If you live in the CA13 area you can visit free of charge on our first weekend – just bring along proof of postcode, such as a utility bill.

Or join us any other day of the season. We’re open Saturday to Thursday – plus selected holiday Fridays – until November 3, and there are always lots of interesting things going on.

camera 12.7.11 113

Listen to a ten-minute talk about Georgian life, some spooky stories or a poetry reading by one of the costumed servants. Watch a conservation demonstration, or roll up your sleeves and help out in the kitchen or get busy at a craft workshop. Dress up in replica costume, play with reproduction toys, write with a quill pen or turn detective with a house or garden trail… the possibilities are endless!

Wine with the Wordsworths

On Thursday, April 18, we’re offering a chance to sample some delicious wines and cheeses – and learn about Georgian drinking habits. Join Nick and Wendy from Shills of Cockermouth and the Wordsworth House and Garden team at 6pm for a very special tasting in our dining room and Georgian kitchen. The evening includes an exclusive out-of-hours view of the house. Tickets are £25 each, and I’m told by the team that booking is essential. Call 01900 824805 to reserve your place.

Dine like a Georgian

A week later, on Thursday, April 25, there’s an exclusive opportunity to dine like a Georgian. Arrive at 5pm to enjoy drinks and cookery demonstrations in our 18th-century kitchen with Amy, the maid. Learn some simple-to-replicate Georgian recipes to impress at your next dinner party, and have an exclusive 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. Fabulous! Tickets are £50 per person and, again, booking is essential – just ring to secure your place.

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