Opening day at the Firs
Opening day at The Firs: Elgar's Birthplace, Hilary Elgar cuts the ribbon.
In December 2016, the National Trust took on a five-year lease of both Elgar’s birthplace cottage and the visitor centre, inheriting the responsibility for sharing this very special place and its stories from the long-line of distinguished prior custodians. The National Trust was invited to join forces with the Elgar Trusts to use our expertise to further enhance our visitors’ experience of the site.
On Friday 1st September 2017, the Firs: Elgar’s Birthplace opened to the public after being closed for a year.
Michael Forster-Smith, General Manager, spoke to welcome the first visitors; “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Elgar Foundation and Elgar Family Trust to share the story of Sir Edward Elgar’s birthplace with visitors to Lower Broadheath. Shortly after Elgar’s death in 1934, the cottage in which he was born was acquired by Worcester City Council and has been the focus for commemorating the remarkable story of his life and music ever since.”
He continued; “Our work over the last year has involved carrying out conservation repairs, redecoration and representation of the birthplace cottage, work on the garden and the outdoor spaces as well as creating a new tea-room and exhibition space within the site’s visitor centre. As with so many of the National Trusts’ endeavours, we have drawn on the skill, expertise and dedication of the volunteers at the site, some of whom have been present through the many stages of the birthplace’s development over previous years.”
Hilary Elgar, Sir Edward Elgar’s great niece, officially opened the property at 10am by cutting a ribbon.
As the property opened Coln Music Group, made up of Antony Frewer (Violin), Christine Riley (Violin), James Thompson (Viola), Linda Thompson (Cello) and Monica Frewer (Piano) played Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor Op.84. first performed in 1919. During the rest of the morning they played a further selection of Elgar’s music in the Carice room.
We very much hope that our visitors will enjoy the revitalised experience at the Firs, Elgar’s birthplace cottage and will feel free to comment and advise us on how we might further develop an understanding of Elgar’s life and work here.
During the course of the next five years, we aim to demonstrate that that Sir Edward Elgar’s story, with its origins in this humble yet beautiful cottage on the outskirts of Worcester, can bring enlightenment and joy to visitors in the 21st century.
Should we succeed in finding new ways to bring Elgar’s music to visitors and educational groups, then we very much hope to take on a longer-term responsibility for the site and continue to share the cottage that inspired Elgar throughout the whole of his lifetime.
" I’ve always loved this cottage; it has a very human quality about it. What the National Trust has done is to return it closer to how it was at Elgar’s birth."