£500k plan for Felpham’s Blake’s Cottage

Blakes Cottage, in Felpham, is one of only two places William Blake lived that are still in existence
Blakes Cottage, in Felpham, is one of only two places William Blake lived that are still in existence

Blake’s Cottage in Felpham is to be fully restored after a £500,000 investment was pledged this week.

The Blake Cottage Trust wants to turn the 17th century cottage where William Blake penned the famous words to Jerusalem into a ‘world-class centre’ celebrating the famous poet and artist.

“The plan is to restore as much of the original building as we can so it’s as close to it was when Blake lived there for three years,” said Peter Johns, one of three trustees for the Blake Cottage Trust.

“We will keep the main cottage and the Victorian part, but the modern 1970s extension is an eyesore, and coupled with the garage has made quite a large footprint. We want to use that footprint to create a building which would act as a study, library and meeting place.”

Since buying the cottage last year for £500,000, work has been ongoing behind the scenes on a plan for the hugely significant property.

Mr Johns said the trust hoped to have permission to carry out urgent repair work to the roof within days.

Around £50,000 will be spent on producing architectural plans and drawings to show to potential sponsors to attract the £500,000 in grants they need for the main project.

The plan is to turn the cottage into the ‘first ever home for the study and appreciation of William Blake in the world’.

Mr Johns said: “To me you have three groups. You have the artistic world – music, poetry, painting; then there’s education, school children to university pupils; and then there’s the general public who know about Jerusalem but no more than that about Blake.

“It’s our intention to cater for all three of these groups.

“We want this cottage to be a world centre for Blake.

“Having a world-class centre here, gradually news would travel and the knock-on positive effects for Felpham, and then Bognor could be huge.

“We’re very excited and confident of making this work.”

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