The birthplace of Black Beauty author Anna Sewell has opened to the public, 145 years since the best-selling novel was published.
On Thursday (24 November) the mayor of Great Yarmouth led the official opening ceremony of Anna Sewell House; Redwings took over guardianship of the property in July when the owner approached the charity about occupying the building.
Redwings plans to use the property to showcase “the legacy of Anna Sewell and her famous novel”, as well as the charity’s ongoing work. Black Beauty was the only book that Anna Sewell published; she died shortly after its release in 1877, aged 58. It has sold more than 50,000 million copies worldwide.
The public can visit Anna Sewell House on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm. It will also be open to the public during Great Yarmouth’s Christmas Fayre on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 December from 10am to 7pm.
“We are so excited to be able to open this important building to the public. Since we announced the news of our residency at Anna Sewell House, our supporters have been in touch in their droves to share their special memories of the novel, and how it has impacted them, and it’s been wonderful to hear their stories,” said Gemma Walpole, Redwings executive director for income and engagement.
“Black Beauty is one of the most successful novels of all time and was one of the first to use an animal as a narrator. Although it has become famous primarily as a children’s novel, Anna didn’t write it for children. She said that her purpose was to ‘induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’ in readers of all ages, and especially in horse owners.
“It’s so important to the owner of Anna Sewell House that the property be used in a way that’s a fitting legacy to Anna and her work to improve horse welfare, so it makes perfect sense for it to be a showcase for the work Redwings does today.”
Mayor of Great Yarmouth, councillor Graham Plant, added that Anna Sewell House is an “iconic” building in the town, with a “rich history and important heritage”.
“We are absolutely delighted that Redwings is the new guardian of the building. With Redwings’ vital role in animal welfare, we are sure this move will help ensure the building continues to be a key asset for both residents and visitors to Great Yarmouth,” he said.
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