Wordsworth heritage project appoints engineers

Civic Engineers has joined the team advising on the £4.75m expansion of the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage, the poet’s former home, in the Lake District’s Grasmere.

Working with Purcell Architects and Max Fordham, the focus will be on finding creative ways to guide the redevelopment of the estate and establish how to get the best value from its building stock, as part of the ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ project.

The scheme is expected to be completed in advance of a celebration of the poet’s 250th birthday in 2020.

Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived in Grasmere from 1799 to 1808, the period celebrated as his golden decade.

Existing buildings at the museum will be converted into a central visitor centre providing a place for people to begin their visit.

Across the site, particularly in the museum, larger windows will allow visitors to connect with the landscape, greater public access to gardens and woodlands will connect visitors with the landscape which inspired one of the nation’s greatest poets.

Dove Cottage is expected to remain untouched.

‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ is currently in development phase, having been awarded a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund in February 2016. Pending a successful fundraising campaign and second round approval from the HLF for a £4.75m grant, work on the scheme is expected to start in spring 2018 and be completed by spring 2020.

Civic Engineers director Julian Broster said: “We are very excited to have been appointed as engineers on this prestigious project. This is a challenging site with a great history. With our track record for delivering high profile arts, cultural and heritage projects, we hope to maintain its original qualities within the national park, whilst enhancing the site to make it appeal to today’s visitors and future generations.”

Robert Chambers, partner at architect Purcell said: “There is great opportunity to draw together the rich experiences of this internationally significant site, enhance the experience for visitors and engage new audiences. Our challenge is to make the site work for today’s visitors, using sensitive conservation and contemporary design to ensure that we maintain the special quality of the place.”

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