What we do…
“We started Albion Inc. to make a difference. Not a fortune!”
In 2018 three like-minded friends decided to get together support an underdog. The port town of Dover.
Dover, a town with so much going for it, a treasure trove of historical sites, a town full of great people proud of their home, yet a place that could be so much more and offer so much more for its people and those who come to visit or pass through.
“Why does it feel like Dover was being left out of all the fun?”
So, after living in the area for years and seeing the coastal towns of Kent such as Whitstable, Margate and Folkestone enjoying a resurgence of vitality led in many ways by culture and the arts, friends Peter Cocks, John Orchard and Gavin Oakley decided to engage in a philanthropic quest to use their combined skills and experience to do something for a place close to their hearts.
And so Albion Inc. was born, forged out of a desire to see a place, that has been home to the founders, thrive and develop to become a place to embrace creativity and culture, a place to learn from folklore and legend, to rediscover lost skills and crafts, to make and create a new narrative for the magnificent town of Dover.
“Dover, it’s a sleeping giant, let’s give it a shake and wake it up!”
A pivotal moment came when Albion Inc were engaged by Pioneering Places, an Arts Council England funded venture to work on a public engagement project at a disused Fort on a hill overlooking Dover. Throughout a year of engagement Albion Inc developed a deep understanding of the place and what made the people of Dover tick.
And from this time a giant was quite literally awakened and that’s where the magic for Dover started.
We aim to provide a benefit to individuals and businesses related to cultural regeneration particularly to where a need has been identified to connect residents to their communities through engaging with culture and the arts.
We love working with communities and community groups to develop a relationship to culture and grow cultural investment.
We like to think that we can help to give more people the opportunity to participate in creative activities and enjoy cultural experiences in their communities and neighbourhoods specifically in places underserved in the past.
One of our key goals is to give more people the opportunity to take part in creativity in the places where they live and work, and to experience for themselves the power of culture.
“We love bringing people together, supporting local economies and making lives better.”
As a Director of the commercial property investment company Marchday PLC, John Orchard became a specialist in large scale regeneration projects in the UK. Most notable is the reinvention of Lingfield Point, Darlington the 1950’s Patons & Baldwins wool factory, CNE, Middlesbrough and New Lodge, Windsor.
John was a co-founder of the Festival of Thrift along with Stella Hall and Red or Dead creators Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. The festival is a free, family focused, community event which attracts around 45,000 people each year and in 2015 won the Observer Ethical Award.
John has spent much of his career assembling and running project professional teams and attracting commercial customers to Marchday’s schemes. He has worked extensively with Artists to transform peoples’ perception of place through the use of art. Most notable large scale projects are Ron Haselden’s ‘Rose’ at Marchday’s CNE building in Middlesbrough and Christian Barnes & John Kennedy’s ‘Futurescope’ at Lingfield Point. John is a firm believer in the hard, commercial value of art in the reinventing process.
In response to Government funding cuts John chaired Darlington Council’s Arts Enquiry Group looking at how ‘Art’ could be delivered by community groups in the absence of central funding. He has given lectures in Placemaking, Commercial Regeneration and Customer Service.
Peter Cocks has over 30 years experience in delivering art, entertainment, installations and events.
Peter spent 10 years in interior and retail design in London and New York (Detail, Practical Styling , Timney Fowler)
He subsequently spent 3 years touring the world with performance art group ‘The Living Paintings.’
Following that, from 1992, he worked in TV as a writer, performer and producer. Working mainly on live, Saturday morning kids’ TV over 15 years, he also wrote children’s drama and animation for BBC (Big Kids, Cramp Twins) and also had dramas commissioned by ITV (Knight School, Let’s Roll with Roland Butter) He was Basil Brush’s scriptwriter until 2005 when Basil retired.
He wrote a trilogy of supernatural novels (Triskellion, with Mark Billingham, as Will Peterson) and a trilogy of crime thrillers: Long Reach, Body Blow and Shadow Box.
Since 2010, he has been involved in a variety of regeneration projects on the South coast, including The Astor Theatre in Deal, Folkestone Harbour Arm, Dreamland Margate, Dover Marine Station, kick starting new cultures of music, art, entertainment and hospitality in these places as an independent producer.
In 2019 he joined a partnership Albion Incorporated, to undertake a Year of Engagement at Fort Burgoyne in Dover under the Pioneering Places scheme.
Gavin has a background in hospitality, tourism, travel, catering, outdoor pursuits and adventure.
Extensively working in the great outdoors as a Mountain Leader, he is no stranger to working in challenging environments. From the heights of the Alps he moved into the hospitality sector in the 1990s and was the founder & owner of Wallett’s Court Country House Hotel and Restaurant, The Garden of `England Spa, The White Cliffs Hotel, The Cliffe Kitchen and Coldred Court a collection of quality hospitality businesses that have operated at a high standard gaining recognition in major food and hotel guides consistently for many years.
Gavin was instrumental in the creation of an operation on Folkestone’s Harbour Arm development with Folkestone Fringe Festival in the year of the Folkestone Triennial and has directed the Port of Dover’s Winter Project at The Old Marine Station ‘place-making’ the venue and creating events.
Gavin was a long-standing Chairman of Dover Smart Project from 2015-2020, a charity formed in 2013 that has been instrumental in supporting and enhancing the extraordinary lives of people in the Dover community through creativity. As well as being a director of Albion Incorporated Gavin is also a Director of Primal Roots CIC an organisation that develops health and fitness through engaging with nature and the great outdoors.
Gavin is engaged in a grassroots arts-led organisation (Dover SmART Project) that works with many under-represented voices. From young carers to people experiencing homelessness to people recovering from addiction to people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. His experience in this field is invaluable in engaging sectors of the community to art and culture. He also has a long experience in developing and building health and well-being in members of the community that are traditionally very hard to reach through his work with Primal Roots CIC. This work has led to him to working in rehabilitating people leaving prison and those living with addiction and homelessness. These people are the voiceless members of our community that need representation. He is also keen to represent the other hidden ‘voiceless’ sentient beings we share our world with as a long-standing vegan. Gavin is also fully committed to an ecologically-friendly way of living and pushes the boundaries of every project he is involved in in order to ensure environmental concerns are high on the agenda.
Having worked in the public-facing sector for over three decades Gavin has developed significant soft skills. When facing challenges in extreme conditions of nature, skills such as communication, problem-solving and leadership come to the fore. Teamwork and critical thinking as well as dependability are also his strengths which have been developed through working in the hospitality sector. In recent projects working with people coming from extreme situations in our community he has developed great empathy and an element of creativity and adaptability to work to find solutions for deep-rooted problems. Gavin also has over thirty years experience managing large teams, in many different environments from managing a group of hospitality businesses to managing teams in outdoor activities. Gavin is also an accomplished endurance athlete on land and at sea with ultramarathons and a cross-channel swim in his list of achievements. These transferable skills are not learned in a classroom, but are invaluable in a creative process that requires a degree of critical thinking.
Peter Cocks – Peter@AlbionIncorporated.com 07973 209715
Gavin Oakley – Gavin@AlbionIncorporated.com 07841 406070
John Orchard – John@AlbionIncorporated.com 07831 304126
Albion Incorporated Limited
The White Cliffs, High St., St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, Dover, Kent CT15 6AT
REGISTERED COMPANY NUMBER: 10511966