The constant and steady erosion of our heritage is unfolding right in front of our eyes. Have we become so forward-thinking, there’s little appetite left for our past? Is it really a cost issue, and if so what is the cost of losing all our history, relegating it to musty books in libraries somewhere that no one really pays much attention to? At times I am afraid that no one will notice until it’s all gone and nothing tangible remains. Today’s post finds us back at the English Inn & Resort on Vancouver Island, BC where we take a look at what might be some of the last pictures taken of this landmark. Our photoblog series “Anne Hathaway’s Cottage At The Olde Inn” takes us one last time to the facility where we see the perfect replica of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and a handful of other period-correct buildings and features.
As I had mentioned in our previous post, “Springtime At The Inn“, this is a place that is near-and-dear to my heart, a place my mom brought us on special occasions for a wonderful family dinner and an adventure strolling the grounds. My mom immigrated from Europe at a young age, and she always loved the architecture and features from that area. Tudor style buildings, in particular, were her very favorites, and really no wonder there as they strongly resemble the homes and communities from the tiny town she grew up in. As a direct result of this, I have come to love and admire these exact same things which now form a huge part of the foundation of our photography practice.
This picture gives us our first glance into the challenges faced with this facility. Unused now for several years, this is an exact replica copy of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the wife of famed writer William Shakespeare. Every attention to detail was taken into consideration when they were building this place, right up to the exact copy of the date-stamp of Anne’s original home included in the chimney. Thatched roofs of this kind are complex and expensive things to maintain and replace. Here on the west coast of Canada, there are no experts readily available to work on things like this. I am sure that people exist here who could do the work, but locating them and then finding a big budget to support this must be a task of daunting dimensions. This makes scenes like this all the more poignant; the tarps that cover the roof today are a sign of what’s to come for the building.
As we glanced inside in an effort to create final memories, ones that we will hold dear as this landscape goes through massive changes and modern buildings begin to be built where these once stood, we noticed dark marks on the walls inside. These are signs of water damage, undoubtedly a result of the poor condition of the roof. And with things like this, what you can see is usually just the very tip of the proverbial iceberg… the cold and damp climate of the island here has been relentless on this building, resulting in something that is likely well beyond reasonable cost to repair.
What at first glance seems to be an inviting home created with Tudor styling nestled in the countryside of England soon takes on a deeper sense when you realize that this building is less than 60 years old, and today is one of the buildings on the grounds slated for demolition. Our pictures certainly don’t tell the whole story. Behind the lovely facade of this building likely resides a plethora of issues in terms of maintenance.
Are stories like these a result of dwindling interest in these kinds of connections to our past? Are the troubles they find themselves in purely to be found in balance sheets and ledger books somewhere? Times are changing, there is no way around that, yet there is something bigger at work here. Some kind of force slowly taking away the vestiges of our past and replacing them with things that bear no resemblance to that which stood here before. And over time, our collective memories fade until all that is left are some photographs and the stories of those who remember coming here as a child.
Thank you so very much for your kind visit today. Please do stay tuned as we continue to shares posts from here over the next little while. And in the meantime, we really appreciate your visit and would love to hear from you, please leave us some comments! Until next time.