I had some very interesting answers after my last blog about Blake’s cottage and made a list of them all, because they set me thinking.
One writer asked whether all three members of the triumvirate have the right to invite their friends to the cottage, now that Tim Heath has started extending his invitation to his friends. I have to admit, I don’t know the answer. But if it’s a rule for one, it should be a rule for all three. Perhaps the other two might like to tell us, or even better perhaps the local member of the trio would like to invite some of the locals in to visit the place. After all, the locals raised quite a lot of money to buy it in the first place and our local member of the triumvirate is a fair, friendly and honest man. How about it Mr Johns? I know the vice chairman of the Big Blake Project would very much like to see the place and has asked for permission and been refused, or to be strictly accurate has been told he will have to wait until Mr Heath decides to have an open day. Hmm.
A second writer wondered whether we could find a well known Blake scholar who would weigh in and help us. I only wish they would but Blake scholars are rather rare. If there’s anyone out there who could and would help us, do get in touch. We need your help very much.
Another writer said in her opinion, she thought only legal powers plus the money to access them could lead to any effective change, which is inescapably true. Those of us who are campaigning to get the cottage repaired are, by and large, extremely short of cash, but her observation set me thinking in a different direction. There is another organisation that might give the lead to effective change too and that’s the Charities Commission which is a government watch dog set up to see that charities organise their affairs legally and properly. So I have written to them, pointing out what a parlous condition the cottage is in, stressing that nothing is being done about it and asking whether it is legal and proper for the trustees of a charity to make money on the property they are supposed to be looking after and running for the nation, in order to raise money purchase another property. I have had a reply, saying they have noted my complaint and will get back to me if they want to know any more.
Any help that any of you can give at this point would be welcome. If you know any renowned Blake scholars who would help, for example, or have other questions you would like to put to the charities commission or have any other suggestions, my door and my ears are always open. For sadly the cottage is still in the same desperate need of repair.