School pupils are writing poetry for a competition to mark an important Wordsworth bicentenary in Ambleside next spring.
Students from the Lakes School and Ambleside Primary School will be helping to celebrate 200 years since Wordsworth moved from Grasmere and came to live at Rydal Mount, and at the same time began work in Ambleside as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland.
This was a government position which funded his writing, and involved the stamping of newspapers, wills and other legal documents. The building where he worked, The Old Stamp House, is now the home of Stampers Restaurant, who are organising the competition.
Members of the Wordsworth family, who still own Rydal Mount, have agreed to judge the poems and will present a prize to the winner. The poems will be on pastoral themes about the Lake District, and a further prize has been offered by the Ambleside-based Windermere Reflections for the best poem about water – lakes or rivers.
It was while living at Rydal Mount and working in Ambleside that Wordsworth published the definitive version of Daffodils, arguably the most famous poem in the English language.
Lyndsay Tarr, acting head teacher at Ambleside Primary School, said that children in Years 5 and 6 had recently been studying Wordsworth’s work after visiting Dove Cottage. “We will take another look at Wordsworth’s poems after Christmas and produce some new poetry,” she said.
Lucy Baker, English teacher at the Lakes School, said that students in Years 10 and 11 would take part in the competition. “We have a number of budding poets excited to take part. This is an opportunity for them to develop their writing skills and their appreciation of the literature and geography that surround them,” she said.
Peter Elkington, the curator at Rydal Mount, and Helen Abel, co-owner of Stampers, both said that the contest would form part of wider celebrations in March to mark the bi-centenary. A selection of entries will be exhibited in the restaurant.
Liz Davey of Windermere Reflections said that the competition would be part of their “creative reflections” project to celebrate the cultural heritage and landscape of the Windermere catchment area.