Dove Cottage, which is in Grasmere in the Lake District, is thought to have been constructed during the early 17th century. It is unfortunate that neither the date of construction nor the original use was recorded, however, during the second half of the 17th century it became an inn called the Dove and Olive. The Dove and Olive was closed down in the early 1790’s.
The building then remained empty for the next few years until William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, moved in as tenants on 20th December 1799. The downstairs bedroom, which would have been used as a drinking room when it was an inn, was initially used as Dorothy’s bedroom and it is thought that this is where she wrote most of her Grasmere Journals. However, this became William’s bedroom during the summer of 1802 in preparation of his marriage to Mary Hutchinson in October. Here you will find a rare example of a double washstand which belonged to William and Mary.
William and Dorothy decided to use the upstairs bedroom as their sitting room as it was naturally brighter which made it a better place for reading, writing and entertaining their guests. They were succeeded at the cottage by their young friend, Thomas De Quincey, in May 1808. However, from 1836 there were various tenants until 1890 when Reverend Stopford bought the cottage and set up a trust and opened it to the public a year later.
Dove Cottage, which is a Grade 1 listed building, attracts over 70 000 visitors each year. Many of the Wordsworth’s household items such as family possessions, furniture and portraits are on display and the garden has also been restored to the half wild state that William and Dorothy lovingly created from local plants and materials. The story of the house and family are told during the guided tour. It was at this house that William Wordsworth wrote some of his greatest work.