Keswick Museum, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Lincoln have launched ‘Robert Southey’s Keswick: Enhancing Understanding of the Literary Culture of the Northern Lake District’.
Funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project aims to develop people’s knowledge both of the controversial Poet Laureate Robert Southey’s life and writings, and of his significance for twenty-first century understanding and enjoyment of the cultural heritage of Keswick and its environs.
The project’s Cultural Engagement Fellow, Dr Charlotte May, will work with Keswick Museum to publicise their unique collection of original letters and manuscripts written by Southey, his family, and his friends. The project will support volunteer training at the Museum following the opening of its new Southey Exhibition and produce a guidebook to support the latter. It will develop learning programmes for schools and resources for schools to borrow from the Museum. A new Southey walking tour will also be created to encourage adults and children to explore the town’s rich history.
The project will run until the end of August 2020. It will culminate in a ‘Southey Celebration’ to be held on and around 12 August, his birthday.
Commenting on the project, Dr Charlotte May said: “I’m thrilled to be working with the team at Keswick Museum to develop resources and information about Robert Southey. Southey was a really high-profile figure in his own time and his fame brought visitors from across the world to Keswick. His enduring legacy can be seen in the popularity of ‘The Three Bears’, a story written by Southey for his children, and in the unique collection of letters and manuscripts held by Keswick Museum.
Southey’s life in Keswick and the many letters and other writings he produced there provide important windows into the cultural heritage of the town and its connections to a dynamic and exciting period in literary history. This project will share that life and those writings with you.”
Details of events and activities will be available from www.keswickmuseum.org.uk or through social media @keswickmuseum.