The Guardian: ‘England hath need of thee’: appeal to save Milton’s Paradise Lost cottage

During the current coronavirus crisis we may be closer to understanding the pressures that drove Milton here than at any other time in our history.
Fleeing the horrors of the Great Plague – as well as other threats to such a prominent republican after the Restoration of the Monarchy – Milton no doubt felt “In darkness, and with dangers compassed round.” (Paradise Lost, Book VII, line 26).
As we adjust to living through a 21st century pandemic, we hope Milton’s Cottage will provide as much of a refuge to others as it did to Milton in 1665.  If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it is that access to literature, poetry and heritage is more important than ever right now.
That’s why we’ve been doing what we can to keep in touch with our audiences online this year, from creative writing during the lockdown to Darkness Visible, a new project engaging people vision impairment – reflecting the fact that Milton was blind when he lived here.
As we explore the power of art and technology to connect us, and help navigate these uncertain times, we end the year with the exciting news that we have received funding from the AIM / Biffa History Maker Award and Big Give Christmas Challenge to develop a new augmented reality visitor experience for Milton’s Cottage.
We look forward to sharing this with you in 2021 (and you can get a sneak preview in the video below).  In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this season’s greetings card.  Taken from Hooke’s Micrographia – published during an earlier pandemic – it shows the first image of a snowflake viewed through a microscope.
As the perfect fusion of art and pioneering technology, Hooke’s illustration seems apt for 2020. It’s been a year that nobody expected, and it’s taken us in some unexpected directions, but thanks to all of our great supporters it’s left us better prepared for the future.
We wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Find out more about Milton’s Cottage – and discover how an earlier pandemic connects Paradise Lost to Milton’s Cottage – by reading our newsletter:

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