The Firs a new lease of life for the birthplace of Sir Edward Elgar
Elgar's Birthplace at Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire will shortly begin a new chapter in its history, following the signing of a lease between the Elgar Foundation and the National Trust.
The National Trust is 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. It was Elgar’s own wish that his birthplace be preserved for the nation, and his daughter Carice carefully selected the items which she felt best represented her father’s life, acting as the first ‘curator’ of the birthplace. More recently, the Elgar Foundation took up the mantle of sharing Elgar’s life and work at his birthplace, creating and developing a substantial visitor centre in the early years of this century.
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. Our work this 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. Our joint effort and partnership working is due to bear its first fruit when we re-open the birthplace on the 1st September 2017.
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.