A Haunted House

cottage

It bears all the hallmarks of a Faustian pact: the seeming prosperity of what Blake called the state of Error; what accurate language can only define as evil deeds growing unchecked and exponentially with the protection of the super-rich, the super-famous and the super-powerful. In short: everything that William Blake loathed, everything he stood against, and people like those he found despicable and impinged on his life through their arrogance and ignorance.

It is the violation of everything Blake stood for, and the violation of the place that he made in his own way holy through work and inspiration, transforming all that in his life might have been construed as evil into beauty, light, imagination and vision.

Blake is dead now. He can’t defend himself.

In what concerns literary history, literary societies and literary houses, this is as dark as it can get.

Local authorities, organisations and press are willingly embroiling themselves in the unholy alliance by protecting blindly the Blake Cottage Trust, despite the many chances they have had of finding out all that is wrong, and having all the evidence at their disposal.

The Blake Cottage Trust has now published the consultation boards regarding their plans for the Cottage and the building of their visitor centre.

In full Faustian fashion, and in keeping with the parlance of grandeur that the Chair of the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust has been worryingly indulging in of late, the BCT now talks about building a “palace of the imagination”.

It keeps on being amusing how they keep on correcting the information they give to the public according to the denunciations I’ve been making in this blog. For instance, they now understand that their former statement regarding artistic residencies lasting a week or a weekend was not really what we had promised the public to facilitate and are therefore now talking of several weeks. This is what people who have been lying to the public for over three years now, who have failed to show any concrete and sound plans or records of their decision-making from the acquisition of the Cottage, and who change what they say to the public from one day to the next depending on what those of us who’re keeping an eye on them denounce, regardless the contradictions, do. It goes without saying that they cannot be believed or trusted, since the whole business of this corrupted project in the hands of corrupted people has been a mighty breach of trust.

The plan of renting out rooms, however, has not changed. Mr Heath seems to be unable to let go of his particular ideas of a Blakean fancy hotel.

The BCT’s document includes some photos without caption so it’s hard for the reader to know what they’re looking at, and it fails to give the public any concrete information about the actual plans for the new building. Most importantly, it fails to explain how can a new visitor building in the Cottage’s grounds possibly help us ” see and experience the Cottage that William and Catherine knew, to see how they lived and worked there”, which is ostensibly their aim. I have said it before: William and Catherine Blake lived in a quiet place conducive to creation: they certainly didn’t wake up every morning to see a visitor centre in their garden.

The BCT also talk about their hopes that “Blake’s Cottage could one day be endowed and thus safeguarded”, which makes me wonder what they mean by that exactly, and what talks in the corridors of power are taking place now in keeping with this fascinating, though no doubt wretched, soul-selling saga.

For this weekend, the Blake Cottage Trust is announcing an “open day” in the Cottage. This means that they will be opening to the visitor the doors of a haunted house. I hope they at least will open the windows too so that a bit of the darkness flies out and dissolves in these glorious Summer days. I do hope that if anything of our spirit remains somewhere after we leave this earth, Blake will be watching over the place where he lived and created, the profaned place that he loved, and will help to keep it hallowed.

One thing is sure though: that the ghosts that these people have created will come back to haunt them, for they surely know that William Blake would have never opened the doors of his house to the likes of them.

HEll

 

 

Architects at Blake’s Cottage, and more fund raising

Today the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust have announced that tomorrow they will host a meeting with the chosen architects to carry out their plans for Blake’s Cottage. Mr Stuart Cade and James Roach, from Rick Mather Architects, will be talking with the public.

I have informed them about the problems surrounding the Cottage, in case they didn’t know, including the fact that the demolition of the annexe and the building of a visitor centre on the Cottage’s grounds were never part of the project and that there is strong opposition to these plans.

The matter is explained in detail in my testimony in this webpage, particularly chapters IV and XVIII.

We hope that Mr Cade and Mr Roach will have the sensibility to understand what is at stake in this project, and be wary about the unscrupulous organisation they are engaging with.

A couple of days ago we’ve had another reason for concern: the Blake Society is announcing a grand event next 25 September to raise funds to mark Blake’s grave in Bunhill Fields: a Wake for Blake.

It is distressing to see that the BS is still using and abusing the trust and the good name of other people, eliciting their support, and their money, when they still have not become accountable to donors and the public about the fraudulent practice through which they allowed Mr Heath, their Chair, to acquire Blake’s Cottage for himself and create his own little private Trust.

That they are trying to get more money from the public while the Blake Society’s and Blake Cottage Trust’s muddled financial reports, that bear little respect for truth, are still being investigated by the relevant authorities (the Charity Commission, on two occasions with a reminder from Action Fraud) is very worrying indeed.

To add to our concerns, news about this event was sent to the Blake Society’s members and friends by Mr Nick Duncan, signing as Trustee.

Mr Duncan was a Trustee when I was also in the Blake Society Committee, if I remember well before I became its Secretary. He left and I didn’t hear back from him until 2016, in unusual circumstances.

At the Society’s AGM in 2016, he wasn’t nominated as a Trustee. Indeed, the Society’s own minutes to the AGM make it clear that he was not elected: https://blakecottage.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/comments-to-minutes-blake-society-agm-2016.pdf

However, on May 2016 we exchanged correspondence. He said he was “sad” that I was making public the corruption around the Cottage and informed me that he was again a Trustee: that he had just been co-opted.

He offered to raise my concerns with the Blake Society Committee then get back to me, but he simply disappeared instead, as is by now customary in this sad affair. This is mentioned in more detail in Chapter XVI in my testimony: https://blakecottage.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/chapter-xvii-my-testimony-blake-cottage1.pdf

Soon after that I found out that just one month earlier Mr Duncan had been the “independent examiner” of the Blake Society.’s finances As I have previously stated in this webpage, the BS’ financial report is inaccurate, lacks transparency and regard to truth, a situation echoed by the Blake Cottage Trust’s financial report.

I made the matter public in this webpage, saying that a Trustee of a Charity cannot be at the same time the supposedly independent examiner of their finances, and I contacted the Charity Commission.

I also asked why the Blake Society lied in their webpage for over a year stating that Dr Duncan had been elected as a Trustee at the AGM in 2016, when that was certainly not the case, as both their minutes and his own correspondence with me prove.

Because the Charity Commission was investigating and I had raised my concerns, Mr Duncan stepped down as a Trustee on January 2017. He was not nominated or elected in any way, and at that AGM the Blake Society made a farcical show of how they were now working with really independent examiners. When I tried to ask the Trustees why a fellow Trustee had stood in as financial examiner, and why they had been lying in their webpage for a whole year about who had been elected, I was bullied and shouted down, so I could never even finish a sentence. This has been related in my report on the AGM 2017 in this blog: https://blakecottage.com/2017/01/22/a-time-of-bullies/

Soon after the AGM the Blake Society published their minutes. They were, again, riddled with lies. I said so in this blog and they quietly made them disappear, and as of today, 2 June 2017, they haven’t published them again. It would be interesting to see what they say in regards of the elected Trustees.

As of today, Mr Duncan is nowhere to be seen in their own webpage:

SCREENSHOT NICK DUNCAN

In short: the Blake Cottage Trust and Blake Society have been lying in their financial reports regarding Blake’s Cottage; the Blake Society’s lack of transparency involves having one of its own Trustees, Mr. Nick Duncan, as an “Independent examiner”.

Because the Charity Commission was investigating this issue, I had made it public and they knew I would attend the 2017 AGM, they secreted Mr Duncan away at the AGM, then very quietly scurried him back afterwards, by co-opting him again, I suppose.

This means not only that there is nothing independent or transparent about the Blake Society’s handling of finances regarding Blake’s Cottage, but that they are intent on making a mockery of their duty to be publicly accountable and deal seriously with concerns raised about them. As stated earlier in this blog, theirs and the BCT’s messy finances haven’t been put right, and none of either organisations has become accountable to the public with a truthful report regarding the money raised.

And still, the Blake Society, with Mr Duncan himself as spokesperson, are now calling for more money for another project and for famous people to lend them a veneer of respectability.

The Grave Project itself has been far from an edifying matter in the history of the Blake Society and members surely remember how long it has taken to materialize. The first funds were actually raised several years ago by a then fellow Trustee, Simeon Gallu, and myself, after which the project was again abandoned, to the exasperation of the Treasurer Mr Luis Garrido and his wife Carol Garrido, then also a Trustee, who carried out the investigation to locate the exact place where Blake is buried in Bunhill Fields.

Mr Garrido knows fully well that everything that happened with Blake’s Cottage is unethical and frankly disgraceful. He has told me so himself several times. He put up with much indignity though, because after the Cottage appeal he was promised that now the Society would finally raise funds for his project of marking the grave. Several chapters in my testimony show evidence of the degree to which Mr Garrido is aware of the lack of scruples and integrity rife in the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage project, and how he has borne it all for the sake of a grave.

The indignities include joining in the slandering of me that the Blake Society has been incurring in, with a worrying degree of sexism involved.

Beautiful as the project of marking the actual place where Blake is buried once was, it cannot hold any beauty now that funds for it are being raised by the same unscrupulous people who stole a project and the money given by over 700 generous donors in order to give Blake’s Cottage to Mr Tim Heath and his illegitimate Trust. They are using the same cunning methods. In this context, their upcoming gala means nothing but spitting on Blake’s grave.

My testimony on Blake’s Cottage is finished

I have finally posted the last chapter of my testimony about what happened with Blake’s Cottage.

You can find all the chapters in the “My Testimony” section in this webpage. Please do go there if the following link doesn’t work: My Testimony

I am grateful to those who have had the patience to read so far. I am also grateful to the process itself: it has been immensely liberating. Throughout the writing of this testimony I have been able to engage joyfully again with William Blake’s work, without feeling anymore the pain and even sense of threat that the sole mention of his name used to trigger after this ordeal.

One day, after working on a chapter, I went to Bunhill Fields – a place I thought I’d never be able to visit again – and just sat there on a bench close to the familiar inscribed stone and fig tree. I recognized all the trees that I had come to love after many visits, and enjoyed again the quiet, the shade: peace. It was a most happy day.

Telling the truth performs this kind of humble miracles. I do hope that this testimony will do its bit, in time, towards a visible restoration of truth around Blake’s Cottage.

I do hope too that the Cottage will be saved from ruin, that its grounds will be saved from the aggression of the “multi-purpose building” that the Blake Cottage Trust is planning to impose, and that this small and much loved building will have its dignity restored.

I also demand pristine financial reports, backed by the relevant documents, from the Blake Cottage Trust and the Blake Society regarding Blake’s Cottage, and I remind the Trustees of both organisations that slandering is a serious offence. The sexism involved in their slandering of me would also, I think, have been offensive to such a libertarian as William Blake.

Image result for william blake

New chapters of my testimony, and financial concerns

I have added chapters X to XII to my testimony. You can find them in that section of this webpage, or in the following links:

https://blakecottage.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/chapter-x-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

https://blakecottage.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/chapter-xi-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

https://blakecottage.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/chapter-xii-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

The final chapters, coming soon, will deal with what happened after I left the Cottage appeal and the Cottage was acquired; how Mr Heath appropriated the Cottage project; the extensive lying to the public by both the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust; the futile attempts of both the Big Blake Project, me and other campaigners to engage in dialogue with them; the disrepair of the Cottage and its muddled finances.

I have also posted today a document in the Documents section in this webpage raising my concerns about the Blake Society’s recent report on how the money for the Cottage was raised, since the inconsistencies are still there:

Inconsistencies in Cottage’s finances, April 2017

I have received further confirmation that the Blake Society Trustees are slandering me. Slander is a serious offence. The sexism involved in the nature of their slandering is quite serious too, and something that anyone claiming to honour William Blake should be deeply ashamed of.

My testimony – new chapters

I have just added chapters V to IX to my testimony. You can read them in the My Testimony section in this webpage (https://blakecottage.com/what-happened-with-the-blakes-cottage-appeal-my-testimony/).

Unfortunately I can’t make a simple, concise narrative of events: because of the degree of dishonesty and the slandering involved, I see myself in the need, for truth’s sake and for my own protection, to include in this testimony all the evidence I have in the form of documents and correspondence, which will make the reading of the testimony harder, longer and repetitive. I’m sure it won’t be a pleasure to read, but it is a document that shows to whoever cares to know what happened exactly with the Cottage appeal, step by step; it shows that things have been very wrong indeed; that the Blake Society Committee always knew things were wrong and decided to ignore it, then collude; that my actions have never been stirred by resentment or ill will, and that the Blake Society is slandering me.

As for the inaccurate document on “how the funds were raised” in the Blake Society webpage mentioned in my previous entry, I insist: the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust must respond directly to every single inconsistency in their handling of their finances pointed at in this webpage.

And the lies continue

I am finishing the next chapters of my testimony of what happened with the Blake Cottage appeal.

Meanwhile though, on visiting the Blake Society’s webpage, I’ve noticed two curious changes. One is that they have made disappear the minutes of the AGM held in January this year, which I have contested earlier in this blog since they were, again, lying about what took place that night.

If the Blake Society is planning to amend or manipulate them again, the reader and Blake Society members may be happy to know that I have saved the minutes they had originally published, so that we can compare if they decide to publish an altered document.

It is also interesting to see that they’ve published a little document called “How the Cottage Funds were raised”. They are lying there again.

They mention, disingenuously, donations made “through” the Blake Society. I’m afraid they have their prepositions wrong. The word is “to“. These donations were made to the Blake Society, who was running the appeal and responsible for the project as I have amply proved in the first chapters of my testimony.

In this webpage I have pointed that the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust were lying saying donations made to the BS were made to the BCT and I mentioned evidence about if from, for instance, the  Heritage Lottery Fund, so they  have corrected the HLF’s item only, without bothering to say why the financial reports of both the BS and the BCT were lying in the first place.

They are still lying now, and still listing as donations to the Blake Cottage Trust money that we applied for, or received, as the Blake Society way before the Blake Cottage Trust even existed.

This spurious little document is not clarifying at all the inconsistencies in their finances I have made clear earlier in this blog, nor does it explain why the amounts mentioned as raised in the past have varied so widely. Please do take a look again at that entry in this blog.

The Blake Society’s new document, and their hiding of the minutes of their latest AGM, are further proof that they are manipulating information and trying to deceive the public. They are behaving like common thieves, but we still want the truth, and we still want them to be accountable and respond to every single issue raised in this blog regarding their murky finances.

You can read the two relevant entries here:

https://blakecottage.com/2017/02/16/fictitious-minutes-piling-up-chapter-iii-of-my-testimony/

and here:

https://blakecottage.com/2016/09/18/inconsistencies-in-blake-cottage-trusts-financial-report/

Keep an eye on this space. The next chapters of my testimony are coming soon.

(In case the BS keeps on playing games and decides to re-publish the 2017 AGM minutes after reading this blog, below is a screenshot of 4 April, the date of this entry, showing how they’ve been made disappear.)

SCREENSHOT NO MINUTES AGM 2017