Blake’s Cottage appeal started


A £500,000 appeal has been launched to buy a famous cottage in Felpham for the nation.

Fans of the poet and mystic William Blake want to acquire his former home to become a centre of creativity and innovation.

Blake lived there from 1800-03 when he wrote Jerusalem with words which continue to inspire the nation.

Attention around Bognor Regis for the campaign will be focused on the Golgonooza festival to be held on September 18-20.

Musicians, writers, poets and performers are being lined up. Rachel Searle, of the Big Blake Project, said: “This festival has to be run on giving and, while we will cover expenses, we hope that everyone will give what they can.”

She said the chance to buy Blake’s Cottage for the first time since 1928 was an unique and exciting opportunity to put Felpham and Bognor in the spotlight and also serve as a possible keystone for cultural regeneration.

Community groups are being sought to work with the project on the festival.

“We ask that people take into account the full regeneration potential of the cottage and help make the festival truly noteworthy,” said Rachel. Festival events will take place in St Mary’s Church and Rectory Gardens, in Felpham, and Bognor town centre.

The Blake’s Society secured an option earlier this year to buy the cottage on Blake’s Road for £520,000 – a considerable reduction on the market price.

The group has three months to find the money. The campaign was highlighted at parliament last week at an event hosted by Barry Sheerman MP.

Ms Searle was present and said the cottage could follow those of Jane Austen’s at Chawton and Wordsworth’s cottage in the Lake District in becoming an attraction.

Blake was one of a trinity of English geniuses known throughout the world – alongside Shakespeare and Newton.

But he could be argued the most important because of his role as a champion of the human imagination and its importance to a modern economy.

The Big Blake Project was set up in 2012 with the Blake Trail and a poetry prize. This year’s judge for the prize is Stephen Fry. The winner will be announced at the festival.

Offers of help to Rachel on 07775 893533, or on Facebook and Twitter.