To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie,

I was fascinated by the discussion about WALLINGTON vs WILLINGDON ANIMAL FARM

Of course we would love to have Chalk Farm recognised as the inspiration for this wonderful work. My charity set up the hotel as a training centre for people with a learning disability and the publicity would be wonderful for the project and the town.

I agree with both the letters from Vivian and yourself regarding Eric's use of the place names.

Just to add another fact to both letters, you are of course aware that Willingdon Mill is mentioned in the book. This mill still exists in full working order and is open to the public on Summer Sundays. It is less than a mile from Chalk Farm. It was renamed Polegate Mill some years ago as it is just on the border of Willingdon/Polegate. It can be clearly seen for miles around and is very prominent from the grassy knoll, mentioned in the book, which overlooks Willingdon and Polegate.

My mother-in-law wrote two booklets on this subject which I could copy and send to you if you are interested.

Kindest regards,
Dr Patrick Parker

Greetings Patrick,

Thank you for your comments about the WALLINGTON WILLINGDON ANIMAL FARM connections which was the conversation between myself and Vivian Halas whose father produced the 1954 animated movie of ANIMAL FARM.

I am thinking, however, that you may not have read the extensive article I wrote after that in answer to an email I received from a person who lives in the area not far from Chalk Farm -- and in it I discuss the Polegate windmill and its connection to ANIMAL FARM.

WillingdonWindmill WillingdonWindmillPolegate AnimalFarmBk

If you haven't already, I'd appreciate you reading the article and sharing your feedback on my thesis that Chalk Farm is definitely part of Orwell's inspiration for ANIMAL FARM. Go to: ORWELL WALKS WILLINGDON DOWNS

In the body and footnotes are photos and links to CHALK FARM HOTEL:

ChalkFarmHouseBarn ChalkFarmHotel

Chalk Farm Hotel is well positioned in pretty Willingdon village but only 3 miles from Eastbourne and the coast, 1 mile from Polegate (nearest rail station); close to South Downs Way and other excellent walks...The hotel forms part of a charity center that includes a nursery and teashop and a working farm behind with a great view of the South Downs... Treat yourself to a coffee or tea in the Secret Garden and take a peep at the Orwell Lounge now licenced for Civil Weddings. Certainly you may be walking through the original Animal Farm....

Yes, I would love to see the booklets your motther-in-law wrote and share them with ORWELL TODAY readers -- and also your comments on ORWELL WALKS WILLINGDON DOWNS

All the best,
Jackie Jura

To Orwell Today,

Hello Jackie,

What an incredible work you have done. Jill and I were astounded at the depth of research you did -- it's a wonderful piece of work.

Sylvia, my dear 96 year old mother in law, is thrilled that you have paralleled her work. I will copy her booklets and get them to you. You have brought great happiness to a dear old lady.

How wonderful it would be to have hordes of foreigners visit Willingdon and Chalk Farm (where I used to go and wash dishes after my evening surgery!!). I meet so many at Birling Gap and they are so interested in George Orwell. Why don't our tourist officials make more of this? Is there a rambler magazine?

Kindest regards and well done,

Greetings again Patrick,

I'm so glad you enjoyed reading ORWELL WALKS WILLINGDON DOWNS -- it's an honour to receive praise from you, your mother-in-law and your wife, Jill -- all of whom, I've learned, are the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears behind many community-enriching projects in Orwell's old Sussex stomping grounds.

Jill Parker has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List
Eastbourne Herald, June 2015

Today Jill is best known for her work on the JPK Project, but has set up multiple organisations over the past 35 years, many of which are still running today. She has also raised millions of pounds for people living with a learning disability and is still tirelessly fundraising to make the JPK Project's dream of creating a residential and work experience centre a reality.... Jill's daughter Katie is now 36, but Jill started raising funds and awareness shortly after she was born. She said, "When Katie was born we met other parents with babies who had a learning disability and it went from there". Jill started by setting up Eastbourne Area Parent Action Group in 1981. Shortly afterwards she set up the Portage Early Learning Scheme, which was taken over by the hospital and is still running today. Jill also assisted in the formation of the Scott unit at the DGH, which she describes as a 'one-stop shop' for parents of children with a learning disability. She went on to manage the Chalk Farm Hotel for ten years. That too is still going strong. The JPK Project started in 2001 following a cream tea in the garden of Jill's Willingdon home. Hundreds of thousands have been raised since and the funds have enabled Jill to purchase the former Edgmond Church site in Old Town....

Work starts on half-a-million pound JPK project
Eastbourne Herald, Nov 17, 2016

Work starts on Monday, November 21, on the third phase of the transformation of the former Edgmond Church into a building that will offer housing for people with disabilities and a warm and welcoming community centre for all. This phase, which will cost 479,000 pounds, will involve re-ordering the building's interior and creating new facilities. These will include toilets, a commercial kitchen, function rooms and a charity shop that will raise funds for the development and the services it will provide.... The creation of the new centre is the culmination of The JPK Sussex Project's vision to create a place where people with moderate to severe learning disabilities leaving full-time education can live independently in the community and gain further training and work experience.... Trustee and Project Coordinator Jill Parker MBE said, "We have been planning this project since 2001 and we are so excited that work has already been completed on the pre-building work and that work on the next stage is starting next week. We could not have reached this stage without the tremendous support of the local community..."

EdgmondChurch ChurchCypriansMap StCypriansSchool

In reading about your current JPK project [Jill-Patrick-Katie?]-- ie transforming Edgmond Church into a residence and community centre -- I notice it's located literally around the corner from St Cyprian's where Orwell attended boarding school from 1911 thru 1916. No doubt young Eric Blair -- ages eight thru thirteen in those years -- would have passed that church many times, the building having been erected in 1840, according to what I googled.

In ORWELL WALKED WILLINGDON DOWNS I quoted directions for getting to St Cyprian's: "...Drive out of Eastbourne town centre along Uppertown Road bearing left into The Goffs. This becomes High Street then Church Street. Turn left into Vicarage Road. Go along Vicarage Drive and turn into Summerdown Road. At Number 67 was the site of St Cyprian's School."

Those same directions, godcidently, also take a person to the new JPK Sussex Project at 39 Church Street.


Orwell's school burnt down in 1939 but now St Cyprian's Lodge stands at the old entrance gate at 67 Summerdown Road.

I agree with you that it would be wonderful if the Orwell connections to Willingdon and Chalk Farm -- and to Eastbourne -- was more widely promoted so that tourists could avail themselves of the opportunity to follow in Orwell's footsteps. I live in Canada, but if I ever do travel to England again, I'll be a Willingdon Animal Farm tourist and see for myself the Sussex sites and stay at Chalk Farm Hotel.

Please feel free to print out copies of my ORWELL WALKS WILLINGDON DOWNS article and turn it into a booklet by stapling the pages together or slipping them into transparent sheet protectors and then into a binder. I've done this with other articles I've compiled of visits to Orwell places.


Copies of the booklet -- cover-page above -- could then be made available at bedside tables or in the lounge for guests at Chalk Farm Hotel.

I very much look forward to receiving your mother-in-law's booklets on Willingdon and Chalk Farm -- by email or snail-mail -- and then scanning pages to share with ORWELL TODAY readers.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

...conversation continues at CHALK FARM ORWELL'S ANIMAL FARM

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WillingdonWindmillPolegate AnimalFarmBk ChalkFarmHotel
Email, Feb 4-20, 2017
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Work starts on half-a-million pound JPK project, Eastbourne Herald, Nov 17, 2016

Jill Parker has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, Eastbourne Herald, June 2015

The JPK Sussex Newsletter, by Dr Patrick Parker, Vice Chairman, July 2015 ...By now you most probably have heard that Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, has bestowed the MBE on Jill in recognition of the 35 years she has dedicated to supporting children and adults with a learning disability and their families. This is rightly deserved and we are most grateful for the recognition of her work. Many years ago we were told by a consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital that there was no hope for our daughter Katie and that we should "put her away". We were shocked and devastated by this. I sought information in medical textbooks and from other consultants who also gave a hopeless prognosis. Jill, in her dogged way, wasn't going to accept this and seeing that there were no facilities for help in Eastbourne set about changing things.... When Jill was in charge of the Cardiothoracic theatre at the London Hospital she never complained of being constantly on call for five years without a break. When she left, she was replaced by three Sisters and four staff nurses -- I think that says it all!...

Edgmond Hall was built as Eastbourne's excise office in about 1840, but was converted to an Open Brethren church in 1872 by William Brodie. The stucco-faced Neoclassical building was extended and taken over by an Evangelical congregation in 1993, but they sold it in 2011 and merged with the Frenchgate church on the Hydneye estate.


OwnerBarnhillCvr OwnerBarnhillpg6-7 The Reminiscences of Mrs Nelson (Orwell's Barnhill landlady), Jura, Scotland



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com