New curators at Rydal Mount

The new curators at Rydal Mount have opened the house, gardens and tea room to the public.

Emily and Matthew Heath and have taken up their posts at the home of William Wordsworth outside Ambleside.

matt and emily

They took over from Peter and Marian Elkington who retired at the end of last year after 25 years at Rydal.

Emily, who has a degree in religious studies from Edinburgh University, worked at the London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA).

Matthew, who studied Japanese at Oxford University, previously ran a food start-up in London and served for 12 years in The Household Cavalry.

They were appointed by the descendants of the poet, who still own the house which is one of the Lake District’s leading visitor attractions.

Peter and Marian Elkington came from South Africa to take up the post and became popular members of the local community, making many friends among artists, poets and patrons of the arts, as well as transforming Rydal Mount into a significant tourist destination.

Peter recites to Marian

During their time at Rydal Mount they hosted weddings, poetry readings, dinners for Japanese visitors, and musical soirees including a night when two grand pianos were carried out onto the lawn.

There were special events in the tea-room, which became famous for Marian’s home-baked cakes, and they hosted many art exhibitions, most notably the launch of a new portrait of William Wordsworth by Hideyuki Sobue to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the poem Daffodils. And they launched a poetry competition for Cumbrian schoolchildren which has become an annual event, attracting poems from youngsters across the county.

“We have a very hard act to follow,” said Emily. “Peter and Marian devoted their lives to Rydal Mount, but we are very excited to take on the challenge and continue their work.

“We have a lot of ideas and plans, but we want to take things slowly and learn day by day about this very special place.”

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great great grandson, said: “This is a very exciting time in the history of our family home, and we are delighted that Emily and Matthew have so much energy and enthusiasm for William Wordsworth, his home and his work.”

Emily and Matthew will continue the poetry competition tradition, and young people in Cumbrian schools are invited to submit entries for this year’s contest on the theme of New Beginnings.