How Does Derek Jarman’s House Cost £3.5 Million?

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The idea of saving Derek Jarman’s house from the elements, well, why not? Assuming that he is the icon of gay liberation (or whichever variant of LGBTQ campaigning you want to talk about) organising a whip round in said community shouldn’t be difficult. A couple of thousand people chipping in a couple of hundred quid each – GoFundMe or the like seems like an appropriate place to try that.

It might seem strange to think of Jarman’s joy in the transience of his art in the context of a recently launched Art Fund campaign to raise £3.5m in 10 weeks to purchase and save Prospect Cottage, his home and workplace in Dungeness, Kent.

£3.5 million to “save it”?

Why? It’s a tiny cottage on Dungeness beach for goodness sake. Other than the association with Jarman it’s worth about a beach hut. No, really, you can check local house prices these days. £100k to £200k, tops. You could buy another one of these houses every year from the income on a £3.5 million fund.

What in buggery are they trying to spend the money upon?

That the association with Jarman makes it more valuable, OK, fine. But then that means that because it’s more valuable because of the association with Jarman it doesn’t need saving. Any rational owner will preserve it because of the value from the association with Jarman.

To insist that the £3.5 million must be paid to preserve that value is simply nonsense.

Now, of course, there’s another way to look at this. Perhaps the £3.5 million is to create an interactive centre for the appreciation of the life and work of Derek Jarman around his cottage on Dungeness Beach. Alright, if that’s what you want to do, although that would rather change that isolation which makes the place. But if that is what is desired then it’s not about saving the cottage, is it?

The only other possible explanation is that there’s some fnarr fnarr mistake here about saving cottaging.

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Jim
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Jim

I think you’ll find the fund is to provide for the wages of the employees of the inevitable ‘non profit’ organisation that will ‘administer’ the cottage, and ‘interpret’ it to the public. And of course the campaign for ‘what Derek would have wanted’. Incidentally, as I’ve asked before, where exactly are you investing your capital such that a fund of £3.5m raises an income of over 200k? The best you can do on deposit is 1.5% and if you invest it on the stock market the FTSE100 yields 4%, which is still only £140k. And exposes you to significant risks,… Read more »

Esteban
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Esteban

The typical U.S. pension portfolio (or 401(k) allocation of someone more than 10 years from retirement) of 60-70% equities is expected to return 6-8% and has done so reliably for decades. It is true that there is some volatility risk, but if your time horizon extends out more than a few years that practically disappears.

Jim
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Jim

Presumably that figure includes capital gains. Tim is suggesting that the income alone would be 6%+

Spike
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Spike

Few safe investments have returned 6-8% in the years that Obama, now Trump, and most leaders elsewhere have deliberately pushed down interest rates (have pumped out fiat money) to goose productivity. Yes, if you take the long view, you can ride out some lean years, but these are more than just some lean years, they are felony Keynesianism with no thought of paying it back elsewhere in the business cycle.

Esteban
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Esteban

No idea what a “safe investment” is supposed to mean, but if you have a 10 year or longer time horizon 6-8% is easy peasy. True, if you look at your returns every day and can’t deal with volatility this may not be for you, but thousands of endowment funds (Harvard, Yale, foundations, etc.) have been rocking along this way for decades.

M C
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M C

The cottage and its garden are rather wonderful and well worth preserving. I visited a few years ago on a day trip to Dungeness, which is a remarkable place.
I very much doubt it would cost £3.5m to buy and maintain. However, ambitious plans to turn it into a ‘creative retreat’ will no doubt require well-paid 3rd sector wastes of space.
Still, this shows the importance of estate planning. Jarman’s partner ought to have left it to the National Trust.