The Blake Cottage Trust is at last creating its website to give information to the public about what they are doing with Blake’s Cottage, 10 months after its acquisition. The Blake Society is also updating its webpage. They seem to be responding to the issues they have been found at fault with since I’ve started making this sad issue public.
They are doing so not by engaging in honest and open communication with those of us who have concerns, despite our endless attempts at being heard and meeting up with them in order to talk face to face and sort out our conflicts – like honest people, who have nothing to hide, do -, but through more lies.
For two years now I have being doing everything in my power to have them put right what is wrong – deceit of the public, stealing of people’s work, harm to concrete human beings, corruption – with all the patience and good will a person can have, and more. Over and over again, they have refused to listen, despite the years I served the Blake Society, then the Cottage appeal with a degree of care, integrity and commitment that every single one of the Trustees has thanked and recognised. These two Charities have been steadily bullying and treating like enemies those of us who founded and worked for the Cottage appeal along with the Chair: the Big Blake Project in Felpham, and myself, and refusing to even acknowledge our concerns that are, ultimately, our concerns for the public.
I am creating a new webpage myself, it will start to be ready in a couple of weeks, and there you will be able to read what really happened with Blake’s Cottage, as well as have access to evidence.
Meanwhile, I will comment on the false information given in these people’s websites in the past couple of days.
Blake Cottage Trust:
- Blake’s Cottage was not purchased after a successful campaign. By February 2015 the campaign – riddled with secrecy, deceit of the public and corruption – had already failed. Yet the Blake Society’s Chair, Tim Heath, went on to recklessly secure on his own a large amount of money from an undisclosed donor, hiding from his fellow campaigners and Trustees. He acquired the Cottage with his own private Trust (for no Charity behaves like the BCT does, being accountable to no one), that of 3 individuals chaired by himself that he also set up in secret. He then bullied out the Big Blake Project who worked and raised funds on behalf of the Blake Society, and both organisations have been trying to deny ever since that the Cottage appeal was a Blake Society project. They have also denied the original vision for the Cottage – the one people gave their money for.
- When they say that the Memorandum and Articles of the Blake Cottage Trust “were incorporated on October 2014”, what they actually mean is that precisely when the Blake Society’s Chair’s probity was being severely questioned, after both the Society and the Campaign had nearly been dissolved because of his unscrupulous behaviour, he took the first step to set up the Blake Cottage Trust, of which he’d name himself Chair as well, entirely on his own, with only his lawyers standing in for him. He didn’t inform of this his fellow campaigners: me, leading the campaign with him in the Blake Society, and the Big Blake Project, leading it locally in West Sussex, or the Blake Society Committee. We only found out when we started doing our research after the Cottage was suddenly purchased last year. The concerns regarding his probity at the time he did this were not honouring the campaign’s working agreements, because of which we were late for our crucial deadlines; severe bullying; abuse of power and corruption, as will be explained further in my new website.
- The Blake Cottage Trust’s two other Trustees, Prof. Phillips and Mr Johns, were never involved in the campaign, never worked for it or had any knowledge of the initial project (the Chair had made sure his fellow-campaigners did not meet up with Prof Phillips, and imposed Mr Johns without consulting us). Since the Cottage was purchased they have insisted that it is OK for the BCT to have only three Trustees, therefore disowning what we promised to the public that we would create: a large consortium of accountable organisations and individuals to run the Cottage, and have been behaving as if this were their own private business, being accountable to no one. Blake’s Cottage, for which they didn’t do any work at all, suddenly fell on their lap like a gift from heaven, and they have made sure to grasp it, without showing any care for the legitimate concerns many of us have about the lack of scruples of their Chair and the campaign’s history, and without showing the minimum respect to the hard-working people who made their “success” possible. Only now that we’ve started to make this public do they deign to talk about “inaugural” Trustees, suggesting they may include new ones later on. It is too late for that. There must indeed be new Trustees, but those that have been unscrupulous must leave. Both the Big Blake Project and myself have informed Prof Phillips and Mr Johns of our concerns from the moment the Cottage was acquired. We have given them all the information they needed so that they realised they were colluding, probably inadvertently, with unethical behaviour. I have repeatedly asked to meet up with them, show them my evidence, explain what I’m talking about. They have not acknowledged my willingness to meet up, to listen and be listened to; they have ignored legitimate concerns from co-founders of the appeal, which is an unjustifiable behaviour in people who are in a position to serve the public, and not to collude in the stealing of people’s work and, by ignoring such concerns, colluding in the bullying as well, and deceiving the public further, which is what they have been doing. The BCT recently used publicly the name of another organisation without their approval in a pretence at transparency. Any Trust to manage Blake’s Cottage must be run by people who behave with honesty, transparency and accountability. No one in the Blake Cottage Trust has proved to be able to do that so far.
The Blake Society website
After I published my comments on the January 2016 AGM’s minutes in my post “The minute particulars” in this blog, the Blake Society has recently updated their webpage with a list of its members that “were elected to serve as Trustees until the following AGM to be held in 2017”. This is a lie.
- They are not mentioning Rod Tweedy, who had stepped down as Secretary but was still nominated as Trustee, then resigned shortly afterwards because of his disapproval regarding the handling of the Cottage appeal and the Committee’s lack of ethics.
- Mr Nick Duncan was not elected at the AGM. He had been a Trustee before and has recently been co-opted, so just for accuracy’s sake, he was not nominated at the AGM.
- But, most important of all, at the AGM, no Committee was elected at all. Please make sure you understand this well. There is no elected Committee for the Blake Society. When in his minutes, that have little regard to truth, the New Secretary, Mr Antony Vinall, mentions that they noted my objection to Paige Morgan’s reelection as a Trustee, he’s not saying what actually happened: that they submitted the new Committee for the AGM’s vote, I casted a vote against Ms Morgan’s reelection and my vote was ignored, and that after that I was not allowed even to speak. Mr Vinall claimed that since there were enough places in the Committee for all the members nominated my vote was invalid, which is not true. The new Committee is submitted to the approval of the Society at the AGM because that is the only chance for its members to guarantee that the Committee is formed by honest and accountable people. But I was not allowed to vote, which is a violation of the Blake Society’s constitution, and in their haste to end the AGM there was no voting at all. No voting at all. So in fact, at the moment, there is no Blake Society Committee.
- My concerns about Ms Morgan arise from her unethical behaviour when she was forced into the Cottage appeal by the Chair despite never having shown the slightest interest in the project. The Chair did this by sheer abuse of power, the same reason why she has been the editor of a Journalthat has not existed for seven years – namely, since she became editor. I have evidence of all the contradictory explanations to both BS members and Committee regarding this situation. Despite all this, Ms Morgan was repeatedly given the benefit of the doubt and the chance to work openly and honestly with others. She ignored that. She never did the work for the Cottage appeal that she was supposed to do (plenty of evidence about that as well), yet between her and the Chair they hijacked the campaign for several weeks at one of its most crucial moments, were the only two people in charge of communication with the public and in charge of the Just Giving and Indiegogo accounts, which may be the case even now. I was then the subject of severe bullying and though the Chair and myself were leading the campaign in the BS, all relevant information was withdrawn from me, with no explanation at all. We were late for our crucial deadlines because of this. I raised the alarm with the Committee. All of them condemned what was going on. I resigned and said I was going to speak out. They asked me to stay and save the reputation of both the Blake Society and the Cottage Campaign. Ms Morgan had disappeared all this time, the Chair acted as her spokesperson and said that anyway she was not in the campaign anymore as she didn’t have time for it. Yet on the very same day that the Chair and I signed a fragile agreement to go on working together, and still without deigning to give a single word of explanation about her behaviour to the Committee, Ms Morgan published in the Blake Society webpage an article with no regard to truth in which she made herself appear as leader of the Cottage appeal. It was a few days after this that the Chair set up the Blake Cottage Trust on his own, hiding from us all. All this, because of lack of ethics of both and abuse of power on the part of the Chair,acknowledged by every single BS Trustee (with exception of those who joined after I left and didn’t know what had happened). One of the Trustees in fact confirmed this to me a few weeks ago, yet still blames me for speaking out.
I am speaking out because Blake’s Cottage cannot be in the hands of people who behave with such appalling lack of ethics. This is not what people gave their money and support for, some of them doing so in the memory of their loved departed ones who loved Blake. The Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust cannot go on abusing people’s trust, generosity and good will in Blake’s name.
We started the campaign to acquire William Blake’s Cottage in Felpham with an ideal: to contribute our grain of sand to a better world. We wanted to create a haven for artists, thinkers, creators, so that from the Cottage’s doors beauty, truth and human solidarity would go out into the world.
Instead of that, we ended up with deceit, harming of people, theft of people’s work, contempt for Blake and for everyone who supported the campaign, a cover up and fraud. This, because of an abysmal lack of scruples, some broken souls, personal interests, petty ambitions, cowardice – what are we to expect from people like these in times of war?
Blake’s Cottage is in a serious state of disrepair, after 9 months of having been acquired by the Blake Cottage Trust, an illegitimate organism of only three men set up secretly. The large consortium of accountable individuals and organisations that we promised the public that we would create was meant to join skills, efforts and fund-raising potential so that this did not happen. That consortium was also to implement the clearly defined project for the Cottage that the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust have now disowned. The Cottage must be managed by responsible people who honour the original project that people gave their money and support for; by people who care, and who are publicly accountable
[Document sent to the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust in November 2015. Not a single one of the concerns raised here has been addressed by either Charity so far]
Should anyone reading this – donors, Blake Society members, authorities, press – want to read the minutes written throughout the campaign, bear in mind that the new Secretary, Antony Vinall, has been taking the BS minutes for several years, has manipulated them in agreement with the Chair before and refused to record crucial information. He distorted truth as well in the minutes of the January 2016 Blake Society’s AGM and has no scruples about lying. If you want to double-check, I have evidence of this and the original emails through which original minutes were sent to the Committee. I also hold screenshots about evidence that these organisms are now trying to remove from their webpage. I hold in fact 12 folders of evidence about the saddest episode yet of betrayal to Blake after his death.