Redwings has announced that the charity has taken on Anna Sewell House – the birthplace of the Black Beauty author - in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
The building is owned by a Redwings supporter and horse owner who approached Redwings about occupying the property. The biggest horse sanctuary in the UK was founded in the county and continues to have its headquarters in Hapton, south of Norwich.
Gemma Walpole, Executive Director for Income and Engagement at Redwings, said: “It’s so important to the owner 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.
“Black Beauty is one of the most successful novels of all time with over 50 million copies sold worldwide and was one of the first to use an animal as a narrator. Anna didn’t write the novel for children. She said that her purpose was to ‘induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’.
“Decades ago, the current owner’s mother, herself an advocate for animal welfare, convinced her husband to buy the house to protect it, when a fan of Anna Sewell had proposed to dismantle it and relocate it to the US. She preserved the Grade 2 listed building, which has become a place of pilgrimage for fans of Anna and her novel.
“We could not be more honoured to be able to look after this important building and use it to showcase Anna’s story and share how our work addresses the horse welfare challenges of today.”
Black Beauty was the only book that Anna Sewell published. She died shortly after the novel was released in 1877, and never witnessed its enormous success or the influence it had on changes to horse welfare in Victorian Britain.
Over 100 years later, in 1984, Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established and is currently responsible for over 2,000 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules across the UK, including 700 living out on permanent loan in Guardian homes.
Redwings will be holding an official opening on Friday 26th August and Anna Sewell House will be open to the public on days to be confirmed. It will be staffed by Redwings employees and volunteers. Keep checking our website for more information about volunteering and visiting at redwings.org.uk.