After the publication of Richard Brooks’ article for the Sunday Times regarding Blake’s Cottage (see former post in this blog), the Blake Cottage Trust has updated its webpage.
Their lies are growing – I fear they will end up hopelessly entangled in them.
They have now published their Report of Accounts for 2015. The falsehood goes thus:
- They claim: “With considerable assistance from the Blake Society the trust succeeded in raising £479,419”. This is a rather serious lie. The Blake Society was not “assisting” a Blake Cottage Trust that did not even exist during the Cottage appeal. The Blake Society asked donors for money for a Blake Society project and it raised, along with the Big Blake Project, over £100,000. It was assisting no one. There is plenty of evidence of this. Claiming otherwise is a fraudulent statement.
- Linked to the above, it is wrong to present the Blake Society’s financial activity regarding the campaign in a Blake Cottage Trust financial report without due clarification. When they talk about 742 donors, they are talking about people who gave money to the Blake Society. This has no place in the BCT’s financial report. This is a fraudulent overlap of information.
- Again, they mention donations from the Sainsbury Monument Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, West Sussex CC and BDB Lawyers as if they were donations to the Blake Cottage Trust. They were not. They were donations made to the Blake Society.
- They also claim: “Our activities in our first year of existence have been focused on the purchase, insurance and immediate maintenance of Blake’s Cottage while honouring its place within the village of Felpham…”. Yet within weeks of a year of the Cottage’s purchase, there has been no maintenance of it whatsoever. As for “honouring its place within the village of Felpham”, I wonder how can you do that while having used then elbowed out of the appeal the Big Blake Project, using publicly the name of another Felpham organisation without their consent, and arrogantly ignoring the views of people in Felpham regarding their plans for the Cottage.
- There is also inaccurate information regarding a loan. I cannot disclose it here as it might affect third parties, but summed to the above, it informs a document that shows a worrying contempt for truthfulness.
On the wake of the Sunday Times article, there is a new FAQ section in the Blake Cottage Trust webpage, riddled with the ambiguous language favoured by Tim Heath in order to keep things vague and manipulate his way through his work with others. There are some points to be made about that section:
- They claim: “In 2015 the Blake Society gave birth to a new charity, the Blake Cottage Trust”. This is what should have happened, but it did not. It is therefore another serious lie. The Blake Society didn’t give birth to a new Charity because Mr Heath, its Chair, kept the Blake Society’s Committee completely in the dark regarding his dealings with the Cottage, bullied out the other person who was responsible for the project within the Committee – myself -, and set up the BCT entirely on his own, in October 2014.
- They claim that the BCT was set up by the law firm of Bircham Dyson Bell, omitting that it was the said firm along with Mr Heath, as can be clearly seen in the BCT’s own documents.
- In the same section, I am being called an “unscrupulous source” for saying this (this is defamation, by the way), and the BCT denies that the Trust was set up in secret, unaware of its own contradictions. They claim “The ten elected trustees of the Blake Society were kept fully informed of the process of forming the charity and its registration with the Charity Commission. The progress is recorded in the official Minutes.” This is interesting:
- There were not ten elected Trustees. We were eleven. Not only was I a Trustee. I was the Secretary, and I have plenty of evidence of the Committee’s deep appreciation and gratefulness for my impeccable work.
- The Blake Society Committee was not informed at all, in any way whatsoever, by the Chair about what he was in fact doing with the Cottage. Several Trustees themselves confirmed that to me when the Cottage was purchased, and they are lying when they deny it. I have evidence of this as well. All that appears in the legitimate original minutes is that in December 2014 the Chair told us he had been to see the lawyers to seek advice about setting up the Trust that was being “started to be formed”, when in fact he had already set it up himself, in secret, in October 2014. Mr Vinall, who has taken minutes for years, has manipulated minutes before and has blatantly lied in the latest AGM minutes, so whatever minutes they provide now, they should be double-checked for accuracy with those in the original emails sent to all of us eleven Trustees, that I will be happy to provide to the relevant authorities.
- They talk about “a small but vocal minority opposing the Cottage” (the same words used by Mr Heath when interviewed by the Sunday Times). In fact he’s referring to myself and the Big Blake Project. We are not a “minority”. We are the people who founded and run the Cottage appeal with him, and who he then bullied out.
- In the answer to the question “The Cottage is tiny…”, Mr Heath goes on to use the words from my own work and even this blog (see my post “Games” below), making a show of continuing on stealing people’s work, and still weaved with in-jokes completely inappropriate in a public project caught in such serious problems.
- The misinformation to the public about the Cottage’s plans is nothing but a mockery. Mr Heath keeps on changing the statements about what the Cottage is supposed to be according to the objections that are being publicly raised, as clearly stated in my post blog “Games”. Only in August 25 did he deign to (mis) inform people about what he wanted to do with the Cottage. I raised concerns about that in this blog, he was quoted in the press and now, one day after the Sunday Times article was published, he has made significant changes to the BCT’s page again. On 25 August he claimed: “…they can elect to become Friends of the Cottage and thereby receive the gifts that will be made by the resident artists (writers, musicians, painters, printmakers, &c) who will find refuge or respite in the Cottage while it is not being occupied by paying guests.” Now that we have raised concerns about this issue of paying guests, quoted also in the Sunday Times, it has disappeared from the Blake Cottage Trust’s webpage. What on 25 August was “paying guests” is now “invited guests”. This constant change of plans is very confusing, to say the least. So what is really going on?
- Finally, and related to the above, Mr Heath has unequivocally talked in the past (and as recently as 25 August) about the BCT’s intentions to rent out rooms in the Cottage. He is now saying that the Cottage will be no hotel or B&B. So if people will pay to spend a weekend or a week there and it won’t be a hotel or B&B, what are they going to call it? He says it will rather be a “dream-catcher”, which I fear is no legitimate answer. Take a look at this Question and Answer in their webpage: “Q: Will I be able to sleep in the Cottage? A: William Blake was a visionary – he dreamed dreams and saw visions. So to fully appreciate the visionary secrets of the Cottage, you will indeed be able ask [sic] to wake in Blake’s bedroom.” This follows on Mr Heath’s recurrent joke about sleeping in Blake’s bed, but doesn’t make the public any wiser about what he’s talking about exactly. He also says: “So, yes, every home should be a gallery, and every room a place of creation and procreation – Blake’s Cottage especially so.”… When the questions about his lack of ethics are as serious as they are now, he, and the Trusts he chairs, should be serious as well and stop talking in riddles.
I don’t believe that Mr Heath, or the Trusts he’s chairing, are aware yet of how serious the public concerns surrounding Blake’s Cottage are. It was indeed over 700 people who made donations to this project, believing in us who created it, and in our good will.
After ceaselessly lying, harming, deceiving the public and stealing people’s work for over two years now, Mr Heath is still mocking the original intentions of the project by saying “it will be a place where all those who struggle to imagine a better world might find refuge, respite and inspiration.”
A better world, as William Blake knew well, is a world of truthfulness, a world of respect for other people, a world in which the meaning of ethics is understood. Beauty mattered to Blake a great deal, and beauty is the first thing that vanishes when lies, ill will and the incapacity to treat other people as human beings show their face. It is about time that this ghastly farce comes to an end.