Once an inn called the Dove and Olive, this Grade I listed building became William Wordsworth's home during his greatest years as a poet.
William Wordsworth came across Dove Cottage by chance during a walk with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his brother John. He instantly fell in love with the little house and within a few weeks he had arranged for he and his sister Dorothy to move in. It was in Dove Cottage, at times ‘crammed edge full’ with people, that Wordsworth wrote some of his greatest poetry. Dorothy also kept her famous Grasmere Journal here, which is on display in the museum.
With its stone floors, dark panelled rooms, glowing coal fires and the family’s belongings, little has changed in the house since the Wordsworths lived here. The garden – which is kept in the half-wild state that the siblings favoured – was described by William as ‘the work of our own hands’. It was here they planted flowers and vegetables, watched the birds and butterflies and wrote poetry.
Most of William's surviving manuscripts are in the collection, along with the work of over 4,000 other writers and artists.