Jane Birkin is known by many as the young actress in the 1960s who became the partner of French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, the mother of actress Charlotte and who is now a singer in her own right. Perhaps few people know that, as a child, she spent her school holidays in Brook and Hulverstone.

After renting Little Brook for the summer, her parents bought Bank Cottage and the Post Office in Hulverstone when the Seely Estate was sold in 1957. Brook in those days was an open and less developed place: Being a 12-year-old on a bike on the Isle of Wight with my brother and sister and Ma and Pa is for me the epitome of happiness. We didn’t stay on the chic side of the Island, but near Brook beach, where there’s black sand.

We would ramble and have adventures together – it was wonderful. We used to get up at six in the morning and get on our bikes and we just went to discover things. There were wrecks from the last war, and there was a porcupine washed up which we tied onto our bikes with a few mines that we’d found on the beach.

Jane Cotton remembers the Birkins in the 1950s when her father was foreman of the Seely Estate:
The Birkin family first came to stay at Little Brook for the school holidays in 1955. Lt Commander Birkin was a tall, thin man and he was a painter. He had been awarded the Légion d’Honneur for his role in the war. Mrs Birkin was a celebrated actress whose stage name was Judy Campbell. She was very striking-looking, tall and slim with very dark hair and a deep husky voice.

I have happy memories of several holidays spent with their children, Andrew, Jane and Linda. Despite our differences in education and background, we got on really well and played around the Brook Estate, in the garden of Little Brook and on the beach.

Jane’s life changed dramatically a few years later when aged 19, she was briefly married to John Barry, already well-known as the composer of the James Bond film music.A year later in 1966, she appeared in the cult film Blow-Up.

In 1968 she went to Paris where she met Serge Gainsbourg and later released the song, Je t’aime… moi non plus, which caused a furore, leading it to be banned by the BBC and condemned by the Vatican.

Back in Brook in 2010 to make documentary about her life, Jane and her brother Andrew found the ‘treasure’ they had hidden 50 years ago - a hoard of threepenny pieces under a small waterfall.