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Ode to Wordsworth on his 250th birthday – Frances Wilson

Features |

Dove Cottage, home of the hippy Wordsworths. (Credit: Mark Bassett, Alamy)

250 years after the poet’s birth, Frances Wilson visits his house, where he ate steak, admired daffodils and wrote his sublime works

‘What happy fortune were it here to live,’ Wordsworth wrote in Home at Grasmere. His home, a former inn called the Dove and Olive Bough, has recently had a happy fortune – £5.1 million, to be precise – spent on its refurbishment. The new Dove Cottage was meant to open on 7th April, Wordsworth’s 250th birthday. The virus means it’ll open later this year. The purpose of the project, 'Reimagining Wordsworth’, is less to prevent the whitewashed doll’s house from becoming another ruined cottage than to bring us closer to the ‘authentic’ Wordsworthian experience – with the help of a ‘learning space’ and a ‘viewing station’, neither of which sounds very Wordsworthian to me. It seems strange, given that the object of the ‘reimagining’ is authenticity, that the Wordsworth Trust has not restored the original name of Town End, which is what the Wordsworths called their home. Dove Cottage was...

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