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Campaigning for a Conan Doyle Museum and Centre for British and Irish Crime Writing

Mission Statement

To save Undershaw for the Nation by relaunching it as the Conan Doyle Museum and Centre for British and Irish Crime Writing, thus affirming its cultural value and Conan Doyle’s place in the literary heritage of Great Britain and Ireland, and beyond.

Dear Colleagues,

We now have only a little time left before the High Court hearing (23rd May) to rally support for saving Undershaw as a Conan Doyle Museum / Centre for British & Irish Crime Writing, establishing and furthering the cultural and social value of the house.

UNDERSHAW & CONAN DOYLE

Undershaw was built to Conan Doyle’s own designs in 1897, one of the very few writers’ houses with this input. During the ten years that he lived there he wrote many of his most popular stories including fourteen Sherlock Holmes adventures, and ten Brigadier Gerard tales. This has recently been documented by Alistair Duncan in his An Entirely New Country – Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw and the Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes (MX Publishing 2011). When Conan Doyle sold Undershaw in 1927 it became an hotel. This closed its doors in 2004 and the property was sold to a development company, Fosseway Ltd.

Now Undershaw may be turned into maisonettes, its gardens built over. Planning permission for this was granted by Waverley Borough Council, a decision which should be overturned at judicial review at the High Court in London on 23rd May 2012. But what better or more appropriate place could there be for a Conan Doyle Museum and Centre for British and Irish Crime Writing, thus affirming its cultural value and Conan Doyle’s place in the literary heritage of Great Britain and Ireland, and beyond, open and accessible to the public all year round (including school visits), with a library, conference facilities, crime writing courses and a writer in residence?

THE UNDERSHAW ALLIANCE

Many heritage houses have been lost, but many more have been saved: why should Undershaw not be one of them? To campaign for its conservation as a Conan Doyle Museum and Centre for British and Irish Crime Writing, two supporters’ groups have been set up, Academics for Undershaw and Crime Writers for Undershaw , the first as a body of authoritative opinion affirming the cultural value of Undershaw, the second honouring Conan Doyle’s place as an ancestor of to-day’s detective fiction. These two groups form the UNDERSHAW ALLIANCE, more than 500 strong, and working to enlist opinion formers and professionals.

The Undershaw Alliance believes that Undershaw can and must be saved for the nation, for the enjoyment of the nation: indeed, in the context of cultural tourism, of all the nations. Our task now is to appeal to a broader public and enlist greater international public support for this.

More information at  www.undershawalliance.com.

Best wishes,

David Charles Rose