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Help us buy Bleak House

edited June 2011 in - WM and WN
Can anyone chip in? We're trying to get together a collective to buy Charles Dickens' not-so-Bleak House, in Broadstairs.
All we need is another £1.95m. Come on folks, dig deep!


  • I can give you the £1.95 Webbo, you'll just have to find the 'm' for yourself though sorry.
  • What a stunning property!
  • oh yeah, you sure that's not Woll's money?!
  • "Planning Permission To Convert To A Boutique Hotel" how cool would that be.

    It really looks like the house from the film 'The Uninvited.'
  • Make a great hotel...
    Sorry ;)

    (Actually our writers' club has Dickens at every meeting- there's a bust (head and shoulders) on a plinth in the room) :)
  • [quote=SilentTony]how cool would that be.[/quote] Not as cool as Writing Magazine/Talkback Manor, c/o Bleak House!
  • That's true, Webbo. So... how many readers do you have? If it's 1.9 million you're laughing. Where do we send it? Why not 'club up' with another writing based something or other and share it for writing retreats, celebrations, weddings of writers, courses etc etc... there must be 1.95 million writery people who might give on the gift of free visiting rights round the garden and free cup of tea when there, or 10% off of the courses...
  • [quote=Liz!]If it's 1.9 million you're laughing.[/quote] If I'd managed to bag us 1.9 million readers I'd be asking for the house as a bonus!

    It's hard not to be caught up in all the possibilities isn't it? As you say, courses, retreats, magazine office, plus the simple investment that it's clearly going to rise in value anyway, rather than paying rent. It'd be quite the commute from Leeds but I think we'd cope.
  • Sorry to throw a spanner in but won't there be planning issues? You can't just turn it from a domestic property.

    Obviously raising the money isn't the issue.
  • Good point BB, although there is permission to turn it into a boutique hotel, so surely keeping it vaguely literary would be preferable. There's not much difference between a retreat and a hotel is there? (And we could keep all the office bits in the smugglers' cellar bit downstairs so no one found out.)

    It's quite a way from the nearest Arvon centre isn't it?
  • It's listed. We wouldn't be able to install anything too kinky.

    *realises I've opened up different fred*
  • I wish i had won the 89 million euro lottery now! We could have all cavorted wantonly around, writing our magnum opi as we go! (please correct my latin conjugation of opus)
  • oh, did somebody win that? That's plan B out the window then.
    Opi looks good to us, but should it be magna or magni, or something?
  • Google tells me its magna opera. Who know that was the root for "opera"?!
  • I wish...
  • You know - interested parties could form a co-op or a social enterprise.... I am sure the right business mix of "writing weekends" and literature events (perhaps something along the lines of Alt.Fiction would bring together enough funding.

    Blend that with something that uses Seven Stories in Newcastle for the children, - school trips, tourists...
    There is plenty of funding for social enterprises.

    This place could be an excellent "Big Society" venture.
  • What a stuning place,and that cellar wonderful to retreat after a hard days writing.
    Do you think a plea to the Lottery fund would do any good, a good business plan mite sway it.

    I think Im reading too much fantasy again.
  • I'm fed up with the weather up north - count me in ;)
  • I can let you have a £1.00 any help?
  • why has it only got 6 bedrooms?
  • I don't mind sharing.
  • I've bought a ticket for tomorrow's lotters. If I win I'll treat you to it! Apart from that with the fiction market imploding I'll probably need someone to donate a cardboard box for me to sleep in. Hard Times!
  • Beautiful views, and we could wriggle our toes into the sand when we have our afternoon writing-themed siesta - that's when we wander down to the beach and lie back in the sun with our eyes closed. Of course we wouldn't really be snoozing, we'd be dreaming up our next financially rewarding plot. :D

    Count me in. Although it would be rather sad to wave goodbye to Talkback Manor with all its rooms and services - and Ethel. Perhaps we could use Not-So-Bleak House as our summer residence and keep Talkback Manor for the rest of the year?
  • What we would all have to give, if you divided the price by the readership of WN/WM, Webbo?
  • Still too much, Lolli! ;)
  • According to the little doodah at the side of the page, it reads TB has approximately 2,000 users. It wouldn't be so bad if we could all manage to scrape up £1000 each, but I've a very strong feeling that a LOT of those users don't in fact use TB at all. We've seen it often enough...someone will sign up to Talkback, make a comment or two and then disappear into the ether again. And we know for a fact that a handful of TBers have signed up for more than one account for various reasons. eg. Couldn't log back on with their original identity/password so they started a new one. So of the 2,000 so-called users, we might be lucky to have a couple of hundred seemingly 'active' members at any one time - this bumps the cost per person up to around £10,000.

    Oh, what the heck, I bought TB Manor for everyone, I'll just open the chequebook up again for a summer retreat. Now.... how do we squeeze 200 people (plus serving staff) and the administration department into six bedrooms?
  • Wow, what a view....
  • Such excitement 'persuaded' further investigation.

    As already commented, 15 Fort Road is a Listed Building.
    It is registered with English Heritage {being of architectural or historic interest} Grade II.

    Planning Permission, both Full and Listed Building Consent, was issued by South Thanet District Council last July.
    Approval has been given for "Change of use from single dwelling to a mixed-use comprising a museum, hotel and ancillary owner's/manager's accommodation."
    Approval numbers; F/TH/10/0456, L/TH/10/0801.
    An earlier proposal was withdrawn, subsequently last December, Listed planning approval was issued for work to a balcony.
    Various conditions have been imposed on the approvals so, as with most Listed Building sites, any plan to vary or make structural alterations are likely to involve protracted negotiations.

    Best use for Talkback would be as recuperative retreat, probably as a remotely located annexe from 'our' Manor.
    That being the case, is two million pounds a worthwhile investment?
    {Think I'd prefer we invest any 'spare' cash extending present abode ...........}

    [Yes; I know, none of you wished to know any of this.] ;)
  • [quote=Jan]I'd prefer we invest any 'spare' cash extending present abode [/quote]
    Oy! Who's forking out their dough for this place anyway? Didn't I just say it's on me?

    Okay, well I suppose one of our gang has to work on the boring legalities, Jan, so I officially nominate you. All right, so hows about this....? I buy Not-so-Bleak House AND the properties below it in the photo that are closer to the water - accommodation problem solved. (Sit DOWN, Gully, and do stop objecting!) And for ease of access between the castle-y part and the beachfront part, we can build a cliff face staircase up there between the two building zones. That way Jan and any other sticklers for the rules can rest easy about all those 'listed' thingys and 'registration' doodahs which will give us all more time for the fun bits.
  • Heartfelt thanks IG
  • [quote=Island Girl]Jan and any other sticklers for the rules[/quote]
    Oh dear, it's not myself but English legislators who contrive to limit enjoyment of the Countries Heritage.

    [quote=Island Girl]Who's forking out their dough for this place anyway?[/quote]
    With no wish to appear ungracious, Your magnanimous gesture is admired, it's just part of my professional chemistry to air words of caution whenever I witness folk becoming emotional about use of architecture. Purchase price invariabley becomes the least cost in funding construction works related to Listed Buildings.
    Lovely as those development ideas are, it would require extensive negotiation to achieve practical realisation. Individuals, employed to interpret and administer English Planning Law, are a mixed bunch with some being over zealous about letter of the law rather than pragmatic about achieving enjoyable use. If only the French philosphy could be applied to temper such despots, compromise could solve such dilemma. {A glass, perhaps bottle, or two of vin rouge imbibed with local Mayor achieves much simpler solution.}

    One of many reasons that encourage me to seek fiction as an escape from employment trials of the constant joust with reason, logic and practicality against the arrogant jobsworth.

    {I'll just crawl back into that cave at end of beach; shall I?}
  • edited June 2011
    It does look lovely but I wouldn't buy any property on cliffs as it could end up falling down them, with cliff erosion.
    I'd like that desk though!

  • [quote=Island Girl]Didn't I just say it's on me?[/quote]

    Now I understand.

    Alternatively, this successful lady could be Nena or Kangaroo which would account for their 'quieter' attendance here.
    {Unless there are other Australian females treading 'our' corridors.}
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