BRUCE DICKINSON Announced As Patron Of The Blake Cottage Trust

May 13, 2024

In the week that Bruce Dickinson starts his hugely anticipated European tour in support of his brand new solo album, "The Mandrake Project", with a string of U.K. headline shows, the IRON MAIDEN frontman is delighted to be announced as Patron of The Blake Cottage Trust.

Having been a lifelong devotee of the lauded visionary, artist and poet William Blake, Bruce has frequently referenced Blake's hugely influential works within his own creative output, including extensively on "The Mandrake Project" itself. In fact the video for his recent single "Rain On The Graves" references Blake in many different ways, from the mystical and arcane through to the more prosaic image of Bruce uncovering a replica of Blake's grave at the end.

The Blake Cottage Trust owns William Blake's only surviving house, in Felpham on the Sussex Coast, where William and his wife Catherine lived between 1800 and 1803. It was in the Cottage that he wrote the words to what we now know as the hymn "Jerusalem". William's three years in the village marked the start of the most important period in his creative life.

Despite being recognized as one of the most important places in English literary history, when the Trust purchased the Cottage it was found to have structural issues and the thatched roof is now in urgent need of repair, meaning it is unsafe to allow access.

Bruce comments: "William Blake has given me so much over the years and I want to repay the debt by helping to restore the Cottage. Despite his impact on the world, there is no center for Blake, nowhere people can visit to see the place where he actually lived and worked during a key part of his life. I want to change this."

2027 will be the 200th anniversary of Blake's death and by then Bruce and the Trust hope the Cottage will be open to the public and become a center for artists, writers and visionaries who wish to follow in Blake's footsteps. The first step is to repair the roof at a cost of £80,000, with the cost of restoring the whole Cottage estimated at £1.5 million.

Bruce will be at the vanguard of the fundraising campaign and will soon be launching an auction of memorabilia from both IRON MAIDEN and his solo career, through the IRON MAIDEN fan club, including the William Blake gravestone as seen in the "Rain On The Graves" video. Plans are also underway for Bruce to play a fundraising concert, details of which will be announced in due course.

Doug Nicholls, chair of The Blake Cottage Trust, says: "We are delighted to welcome Bruce as our Patron. Blake's Cottage provides an important physical link to an artist and poet whose work helped shape Britain. With Bruce's active support I am sure that we will be able to achieve our aim of restoring it for future generations."

Bruce expounds upon his love for William Blake in a brand-new interview with The Quietus which has been published today. He states: "He's an artist to whom you should aspire. There's a purity to what he does that is untrammeled by commerciality or anything like that. He was unpredictable, he was cranky, he was difficult to deal with. He's uncompromising, he's rude, he's bellicose. But he's incredibly powerful. He matters."

Bruce Dickinson and his phenomenal HOUSE BAND OF HELL band will be playing music from Bruce's entire solo career — including Blake-inspired tracks such as "The Book Of Thel", "The Alchemist", "Chemical Wedding", "Jerusalem" and "Rain On The Graves" — on the forthcoming European tour, which starts in Wolverhampton on May 16. Support in the U.K., Paris and Tilburg comes from New Zealand up-and-coming rockers BLACK SMOKE TRIGGER.

Photo credit: John McMurtrie

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