RENOVATION work undertaken on a Lake District hotel has shown a connection between playwright Oscar Wilde and Cumbria.

The best known link between Oscar Wilde and the Lake District is the play he wrote while visiting the area, ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’.

But the £125,000 renovation work that has been done to Windermere Park has highlighted a different link.

Records show that between 1883 and 1884 Oscar Wilde was in the area giving a series of lectures to packed houses on interior design, entitled ‘The Decorative Arts’ and ‘The House Beautiful’.

Jonathan Denby, the new owner of Windermere Park - formerly Ellerthwaite Lodge – has found the full text of Wilde’s Ulverston lecture given on February 23, 1884.

It includes, he says, many design recommendations that can still be found in the hotel he bought last August (2017) for £1 million.

Windermere Park was originally a home called ‘Cross Way’s. It was commissioned by Windermere GP Dr Mason, and completed in 1886, just after Wilde’s lecture tour. Jonathan Denby believes that Dr Mason attended Wilde’s lecture on interior design and followed his guidance to the letter.

As Jonathan Denby explained: “Over a thousand people came to hear the Oscar Wilde lecture at Ulverston. It is reasonable to conclude that Dr Mason would have been in the crowd. Even today many features of Windermere Park can be found in the text of Wilde’s Ulverston talk.

“For instance, Wilde recommended the use of stained glass in the house. And there is an abundance of it at Windermere Park, most notably in the magnificent bay window on the first floor. Oscar Wilde advocated the use of coved decorated ceilings, a beautiful feature which can be found on the hotel’s first floor landing and reception lounge.

“Wilde also favoured the abundant use of carved wood, in the Arts and Crafts style, and there are many lovely examples of this too.

“As part of the recent renovations we have created an Oscar Wilde Suite to celebrate the great showman’s influence on the style of the building. The suite has a sitting room with a coved ceiling, two magnificent bay windows with stained glass, and some lovely wood carving in the Arts and Crafts style which Oscar Wilde loved,” added Mr Denby.