Blake’s Cottage – local action

‘The time has come (to quote the old slogan) for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of the party.’

We now know that the Blake Cottage Trust has no money to repair the cottage. We also know because it’s there on their website, that Tim Heath, who is the key member of the triumvirate and the chairman of the Blake Society, is still dreaming of pulling down half the cottage to erect his magnificent half a million pounds, ‘new multi functional building that will be an architectural jewel in its own right and will draw people to the village of Felpham just to see it.’  

He tells us quite a lot about this building on the BCT website on ‘The Cottage’ page.

He also says that he is going to allow ‘the public’ to have ‘three forms of access.’ 

1)  They can visit the cottage on open days.

2) Invited guests can sleep in the cottage over a short weekend or a longer week.

3) They can elect to become Friends of the Cottage and thereby receive the gifts that will be made by resident artists who will find refuge or respite in the Cottage.

He’s forgotten that he does not own the cottage, and never has, but ‘holds it in trust for the benefit of the nation’. 

It seems to me that his present position needs challenging. It is a folly to allow one man to treat this property as if it were his personal fiefdom and to talk about the people who live in our nation, for whom the building is actually held in trust, as if we were all mere plebs in his kingdom, who can be allowed into the cottage when he says so and rewarded with artistic efforts that we probably wouldn’t want in the least. I know if I’m going to buy a book of poetry or a painting I would examine it very closely beforehand and wouldn’t buy it unless it appealed to me strongly. I wouldn’t take rubbish as a gift!

So what now?

I’m going to organise another public meeting for anyone in the village who is concerned about the cottage and wants to see pictures that will show them exactly what state it’s in and hear the very latest on what is planned for it. Posters are being designed, I shall run advertisements in the local press and I’ve already sent out a general invitation to the Felpham Parish Council and the Felpham Village Preservation Society.

Bring me my spear, oh clouds unfold / Bring me my chariot of fire. As our dear Blake said.





7 thoughts on “Blake’s Cottage – local action

  1. I may not be a resident of Felpham but since my visit to Blake’s cottage several years ago, a piece of my heart stayed behind. I am with you every step of the way with this.
    The cottage belongs to everyone who donated to the fund, everyone who has ever read a Blake poem or seen his art work, everyone who has ever sung ‘Jerusalem’ and everyone who believes in the truth of the imagination.The campaign to buy Blake’s cottage was a roller coaster in itself. I thought a miracle had happened when it was purchased. I actually cried tears of joy. Now, a campaign to save the cottage from imploding due to urgent repairs to the roof is required. Nobody wants a modern building on the site. Mr Blake would have been horrified by the idea. The roof should be the priority especially with winter upon us. So, we’re back on the roller coaster again it seems. ‘Joy and Woe’, is how our beloved Blake would no doubt have described it.
    It’s more than just a cottage. It’s Blake’s cottage. It’s now the nation’s cottage and it needs us in its hour of greatest need. I think we should all be able to cross the threshold that ‘those feet’ did in the 1800’s without the need for an invitation. I believe it should be open to the public. Blake’s public, the people who genuinely care about the man and his legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt if anyone could challenge or doubt a single syllable of this Vanessa. The tragedy is, with a country so rich in culture in all its shapes and forms, that all too often individual elements are taken for granted, just look at the architectural wrecking machine that was the 60’s and 70’s. Tragic too it’s so difficult to wake people up to the cumulative effect of such carefree and wanton inertia.
      If only we could get everyone who has ever sung Jerusalem to sign the petition, now there’s a challenge……


  2. Having been a friend of the previous owner of Blakes Cottage and having visited it many times, I am entirely in agreement that it be “saved” for the Nation. However, it does occur to me that maybe a Grant could be obtained from the National Lottery to at least repair the roof – has anyone tried this?


  3. Second reply to Hilary. I’ve just checked the BCT’s published accounts and find that they were given £10,000 by the Heritage Lottery to buy the cottage so I doubt they’ll be able to get more form that source.


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