Celebrations were held yesterday in Launceston’s Town Hall to mark the official opening of Charles Causley House for its first poet in residence, Dr Alyson Hallett.
The ribbon was cut by the Trust’s Patron, Sir Andrew Motion, and there followed at the Town Hall a moving celebration of the completion of the House refurbishment. With speeches from the Trust’s Chair, Kent Stanton, and Cornwall Councillor Bert Biscoe, and readings from Sir Andrew Motion, Trustee John Hurst and Alyson Hallett, the event was rounded off beautifully by Jim Causley, with three songs from his superb Cyprus Well album. Sir Andrew read ‘Eden Rock’, and John Hurst ‘Sibard’s Well’. Dr Hallett read a newly composed poem ‘Letter to Charles Causley’ after Causley’s own poem, ‘Letter to W.S. Graham’.
The Town Hall was packed for what was to be a very emotional tribute to Charles and an opportunity for the Trust to thank the many, many people and organisations who had worked so hard to assist the Trust in saving the House. There was an opportunity too to praise the vision of the Trust in saving Causley’s House for the nation – in particular the drive and ambition of Trust chair, Kent Stanton.
“It is as a result of teamwork, dedication and determination,” said Mr Stanton, “that we have managed to realise the dream of one of Cornwall’s greatest sons”.
The Trust was successful in securing £50k of funding from Arts Council England together with an investment of £116k from Cornwall Council to allow it to undertake the development of the house. The Trust is also grateful for the considerable in kind support that it has received from Launceston Town Council and Literature Works. A Design Team lead by Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects and Trevor Humphreys Associates as Quantity Surveyor were appointed, together with Ron Bullock Ltd as the main building contractor.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Culture Julian German said: “It is fantastic to see the house restored into such a welcoming and inspiring space. The redevelopment was one of the ten priority projects named in Cornwall’s White Paper for Culture in recognition of its significance to the literature sector and culture in Cornwall.”
CEO of Literature Works, Tracey Guiry, said: “Literature Works is delighted to have supported the development of this space and the Trust’s endeavours, and feel the residency will prove an essential opportunity to support talented writers.”