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Lakes’ celebrations for Wordsworth anniversary

Susan Wordsworth Andrew and her son Christopher

A year of celebration is being planned to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth in 2020.

Events include talks, poetry readings, presentations, and a big family reunion when the Wordsworth descendants will gather at Rydal Mount – which will also celebrate 50 years being open to the public.

Hailed as one of the greatest English poets ever, William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770 in Cockermouth. His homes included Dove Cottage and Allan Bank before he moved to Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, with his wife Mary and sister Dorothy. He died there in April 1850.

The celebrations are being planned by the Wordsworth family who still own Rydal Mount. A family reunion party will be held on April 25, with dinner at the house following a walk across to Grasmere and Dove Cottage. It will mark the birthday of Susan Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great grand-daughter of the poet, and of Antony Wordsworth .

There will also be a family wreath-laying ceremony at the churchyard in Grasmere where William Wordsworth is buried.

Rydal Mount and gardens

Events at Rydal Mount will accompany the Reimagining Wordsworth project in Grasmere which aims to create new ways of telling the story of Wordsworth’s life and poetry.

The Wordsworth Museum will be expanded and modernised, with stunning views of the surrounding fells, giving visitors the chance to stop and reflect on the landscape that inspired the poet. Dove Cottage is being developed to provide a more authentic and atmospheric experience for visitors.

At Rydal Mount, an artist-in-residence, Helen Johnson, will produce pieces of work which will celebrate Wordsworth not only as a writer but also as an early environmentalist renowned for revolutionising English poetry and celebrating the importance of our relationship with the natural world.

And the annual Wordsworth Prize for Young Poets will invite pupils at schools throughout Cumbria to produce their own work on the theme of “Milestones”. A larger-scale international poetry contest is planned for later in the year.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great great grandson, said that people throughout the world would be able to share in the celebrations. “William was a true was a revolutionary whose work and thoughts are still relevant today. His ideas, and his expression of the beauty of the world around him, have an eternal appeal.”

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