Since I last posted here about the cottage, several ominous things have happened and this blog is to keep you all informed. The last post I put up was fairly upbeat because I had just heard the news that English Heritage had put the cottage on its ‘At Risk’ register. I wrote a booklet detailing the current state of the cottage and explaining what needs to be done about it and had it printed in time for a literary event which I attended last Saturday. But now four things have happened which change the circumstances entirely.
The Blake Cottage Trust has acquired a new Trustee, whose name is Jonathan Mullard. I did a spot of detective work and discovered that as well as being a Trustee of the BCT, he is also the secretary of the Blake Society – both organisations run and dominated by Tim Heath – so I thought I’d better find out a bit more about him. I sent him a message suggesting that we should talk. Rather to my surprise, he phoned me. I didn’t find out anything out about him AT ALL apart from the fact that he comes from the north and is ‘an optimist’, which he told me over and over again as if he was waving a flag.
The next day, very much to my surprise, I had a phone call from a friendly lady from English Heritage who is called called Alma Howell. Among other things she wanted to know how I felt about the cottage after Jonathan Mullard’s phone call. I told her it had left me seriously depressed. Her reaction was a surprise. It upset her. She actually said ‘Oh no!’ with real passion and it plainly wasn’t the answer she had expected. It made me wonder why. At which point I began to smell a rat.
The third thing that happened was a e-mail from a lady called Adriana Diaz Encisco, who has been a long standing member of the Blake Society, was the secretary of the Society for several years and probably knows more about the workings of the organisation that anybody else I can think of. She too had been contacted by our Jonathan Mullard, who had told her to take down the blog she had written about the cottage. How arrogant and overbearing is that? I told her I hoped she hadn’t done any such thing and she said no, she hadn’t.
The fourth thing was the publication of an article in the Daily Telegraph, which has been put on Facebook by a lady from the Felpham Village Conservation Society, and, although I’m sure it wasn’t the writer’s intention, it made the current situation horrifically clear. I’m going to quote from it at length.
In the first paragraph the writer says ‘Campaigners SEEK TO DEMOLISH A 1970s EXTENSION to the 17th Century building.’ That is simply not true. 500 people in Felpham signed a petition asking for the cottage to be repaired and Tim Heath completely ignored it. You will find the details in my booklet. The person who wants to pull down the extension is Tim Heath. There are details about that in the booklet too.
In the 3rd paragraph, he says, ‘BCT is seeking £450,000 for repairs.’
In the 4th paragraph he reports, ‘Jonathan Mullard said, ”We’re fund-raising. PART OF THAT MONEY WILL BE TO REMOVE THE 1970 FEATURES.’ Jonathan Mullard is quoting Tim Heath directly. That is what he has planned from the beginning..
In the 10th paragraph, he says …’his cottage, which Trustees hope to make suitable for visitors and CREATIVE RESIDENCES by 2027.’ Jonathan Mullard is quoting Tim Heath again. See my booklet for a full explanation.
By this point in the article it is plain and clear that Jonathan Mullard is speaking and acting on behalf of Tim Heath AND NOBODY ELSE. There are now so many rats for me to smell I feel like the Pied Piper.
Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the Cottage. It is sorely in need of your help.