During the last few weeks people have been asking me what has happened to Blake’s Cottage and my answer has had to be ‘Nothing as far as I know.’ And then this week a visitor to my blog took at look at this now very dated piece. I wrote it on October 12th 2016, which is more than four years ago, when I was gathering signatures for a petition to ask the three men who ‘hold the cottage in trust for the nation‘ to get on with the repairs it needed. And I’m repeating it now because it shows that in all this time NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.
”Sorry to come back at you on Blake’s Cottage for the 2nd time in two days – I’ll put a fun blog up later I promise! – but this needs to be said and said quickly.
Several people have contacted me about my last blog feeling despondent and saying ‘if they haven’t any money, there’s no point in signing the petition.’ This is to try to convince them and others who might be thinking in the same way that the petition is in fact even more necessary and pressing now then it ever was. If we just sit back and do nothing, the triumvirate will go on dreaming about the money that they truly believe they will eventually be given and nothing will be done at all for years. That’s sad to say, but it’s true and the eventual outcome of this shilly-shallying will be that the cottage will degenerate so far that it will either be pulled down or collapse.
What we need now is massive pressure from as many people as we can persuade to sign the petition and make it grow. The more signatures we get, the nearer the time will come when a) the press and television take notice of what we’re asking, b) the matter becomes public and c) the triumvirate will be under such heavy pressure that they will finally have to admit that they don’t have the money to do anything to the cottage beyond prop it up with steel supports and that they will, however reluctantly, have to hand it over to the National Trust or English Heritage. That is the obvious and inevitable result of the situation they are in and the sooner we achieve it, the better.”
But the petition was ignored and NOTHING WAS DONE. And now the cottage is in an even worse state than it was then and even nearer to the time when it will be condemned and pulled down. And even worse, no one seems to know how to contact any of the three men who are supposed to ‘hold it in trust for the nation.’ As one man who’s been trying, put it. ‘They seem to have vanished into thin air.’
Well I’ve done my best to contact all three of them but with precious little success and this is what I’ve managed to come up with. I hope it helps.
1) It is impossible to find any address or contact number for Dr Michael Phillips ( I’ve tried on several occasions).
2) Peter Johns has left the house he owned in Lavant and although I have his mobile phone number, he is friendly but quite unable to help. He says funds are coming in but very slowly and that they are all honourable men who are doing their best. Which is soothing but useless. He tried to reassure me by telling me they are all contactable via the BCT website.
So I went into the site and discovered that the only contact number is Tim Heath’s mobile which he doesn’t answer.
3) And what of Tim Heath? Well he is doing a Trump, squatting in his late mother’s house and refusing to budge, to the considerable annoyance of his brother who has been trying to sell it ever since their mother’s will was proven. This is the house that was featured in the Daily Mail article (which I wrote a blog about) so I know the address as well as his mobile number.
As far as I can see, the only possible solution now is for one or other of the three trustees to apply to the National Trust to see if they would take the cottage over. It is now totally unsaleable. You only have to walk past it to see that. And how would we ordinary Blake lovers be able to persuade any of them to do that? That’s the question we face now. Oh for the backing of a reputable national newspaper.