After an ambitious crowd-funding campaign, the Blake Society has successfully purchased Blake’s cottage – a quaint, Grade II listed home in Flepham, Sussex. The cottage is where the Great British poet wrote ‘Jerusalem’, and Flepham is where he was arrested for sedition.
The house has been preserved in much the same state as it was when Blake lived there – it even still has the vegetable patch seen in many of the poet’s famous sketches.
The Blake Society has run an efficient and effective campaign to raise the funds to buy the property. In a statement, the group confirmed that the building would now be “held in trust for the nation in perpetuity.”
Tim Heath, Chair of the Blake Society, said that the idea of placing the home into a trust for all those inspired by Blake was first mentioned 22 years ago, on “a summer’s day in 1993” over tea.
Heath added that he knew “the process of raising over half a million pounds from the Blake community – many of whom eschew money – would never be easy […] but with the individual gifts of many hundreds of donors and the extraordinary generosity of one anonymous trust, the Cottage has been purchased.”
After thanking the Blake community for their excellent fundraising skills, Heath commented upon the Cottage, noting it’s importance:
“The cottage is where Blake wrote the poem ‘And Did Those Feet …’ while he was awaiting his trial for Treason,” Heath explained. “And so there is a special irony in how this radical poem Jerusalem has become a national anthem, a hymn to dissent and a song that challenges both the Singer and the State.
Professor Wu says:
“This is a great day for lovers of history, literature, poetry and culture. Blake lived in nine houses all his life, all rented. The building is the last of two remaining – with the others all now demolished. This illustrates just how important it is that the Blake Society have been successful in securing this cottage for future generations. I would tip my cap to them, if I weren’t a giant Chinese salamander floating in a tank here in London Zoo.”