I was disappointed when Kevin Smith of the Bognor Post put an article about the state of Blake’s Cottage in last Friday’s edition. He reported what I had said on my blog ‘If Blake’s Cottage had a voice, it would cry HELP!’ but sadly he didn’t include the pictures and I’m afraid that without the pictures to endorse what I have to say the Blake Cottage Trust can dismiss my blog as coming from one of “A small but vociferous minority of people who oppose the cottage” and therefore something worthy of no attention at all.
So yesterday I contacted one of the officials at the South Eastern branch of English Heritage.
When I took the 500 strong petition to the cottage and gave it to Tim Heath, I met up with a friendly official from English Heritage whom I promised I would contact if the cottage decayed any further. It has, as these pictures will have shown you, so I have. My original contact is on maternity leave but another official called Sarah listened to what I had to say and while we were on the phone, opened my blog and saw the pictures. Oh how much louder pictures speak than words. She was concerned by them and asked me to fill in a form and provide her with copies of the pictures and any written information I had so that she could pass it on to the Heritage at Risk team. This I have done this morning. Now I wait with great interest to see what will happen next.
I have also discovered, since my last blog, that Tim Heath is still squatting in his parents’ house in Corringham Road which is right near Hampstead Heath and refusing to budge even though his mother has been dead for over 2 years and it really is high time he stirred his stumps. And as if that weren’t a pearl enough I’ve also discovered from a reliable source that Tim Heath will inherit £400,000 from his mother’s estate and no more. The last time I spoke to Peter Johns, he estimated that repairing the roof and the rafters would cost at least half a million and to build Tim Heath’s dream edifice which he is very happy to tell us will be a RESIDENCE as well as a set of display rooms and a conference centre, will cost over £2 million.
So I have also been in touch with the Charities Commission whose job it is to check on any wrong doing or misappropriation of funds or suchlike matters in the various charities that operate in this country, including of course, The Blake Cottage Trust. I wonder whether it’s permissible for the chairman of a charitable trust to be ‘a person of no fixed abode’ with ‘no gainful employment’. Now there’s a thought. More in my next perhaps.
With luck, I shall be in Chichester Cathedral tomorrow evening listening to a lecture on Blake by a scholar who is obviously a great admirer. A treat. Maybe I shall see some of you there.