AS THE author of 'An American President's Love Affair with the English Lake District' I was delighted to see the reference by Roger Bingham (Nostalgia, November 9) to US President Woodrow Wilson's visit to Carlisle on December 29, 1918, on his way to chairing the Peace Conference in Versailles at the end of World War One.

In my book I give details of this visit, which he called a 'pilgrimage of the heart' to see the place where his mother was born and his grandfather preached.

In a speech in the Lowther Street Congregational Church, President Wilson expressed the hope that the peace which went out 'from communities like this all over the world' would 'fertilise the conscience of men', stressing that it was 'the conscience of men that we are now trying to place on the throne which others tried to usurp'.

Before he became President in 1913, Wilson had visited the Lake District five times (not just three, as given in Mr Bingham's article). After cycling into the area from Carlisle, in June 1896, he had fallen in love with it. He returned on another bike tour in 1899, and then visited it with his wife in 1903.

Three years later they brought their two daughters with them and rented Loughrigg Cottage, Rydal, from where Wilson met Rydal artist Fred Yates, with whom he became firm friends.

Wilson returned for a fifth time in 1908, staying at the Rothay (now the Wordsworth) Hotel in Grasmere.

He had intended to return after his Presidency ended in 1921, and even looked at potential second homes here, but ill health prevented him doing so. But he kept in touch with his Lake District friends to the end.

Andrew Wilson

Troutbeck Bridge