Our work at The Firs

Alison working in the garden

For many years the birthplace cottage was the only building on the site. In the forty years from the opening of the museum to the time Carice Elgar Blake died in 1970 the collection of exhibits had far outgrown the space in the cottage.

The Firs Visitor Centre

In 1990 work started on a purpose built visitor centre which was officially opened in October 2000 with environmentally controlled exhibit cases enabling original manuscripts and other archive materials to be displayed. Also created in the centre is the multi-purpose Carice Elgar room which can be used for meetings, concerts and temporary exhibitions together with copious office space.

The Elgar 'signature' in reception
Elgar sign in the reception area

When the National Trust was asked to take over the running of the Birthplace significant work was undertaken to convert some of the office space into another exhibition room which houses Elgar’s desk, examples of his manuscripts and other memorabilia from his study.   Other previous office space has been developed into a kitchen, tea-room and a small shop.

The Visitor Centre will continue to develop during our stewardship of the Birthplace.

The new tea-room, nearly there
new tea-room at the firs

The Firs Birthplace Cottage

Prior to opening under National Trust stewardship we have undertaken work in the cottage to return a sense of the ages to this special place. The entrance space has been dressed to replicate the cottage in 1857, whilst the remaining space in the cottage is given over to exhibit space, as had been the case previously.

Refurbishing the paintwork
painting in the first room of the cottage

We have curated the collection to reflect the cottage as Carice intended, creating an immersive setting using earthen colour schemes and evocative display. It is important to remember this is a small cottage and there may be times when we need to restrict numbers in the cottage with timed tickets.

Leah cleaning after the restoration work
leah cleaning in the birthplace cottage

The Firs Cottage Garden

When we took over the property the garden was very overgrown and in need of some ‘tender loving care’.  The team of garden volunteers and staff from nearby Croome took on the work with relish and have restored the garden back to its former glory. 

Tree cutting in the cottage garden
tree cutting in the firs garden

We now have a team of garden volunteers working at The Firs and we will maintain the garden much as it was when Elgar was here.

Ben one of the garden team
Ben a garden team member

The Future

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.