Brits Fight to Save Conan Doyle's Mansion

Reasons to preserve Undershaw are elementary, say Holmes fans
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2010 4:03 AM CST
Brits Fight to Save Conan Doyle's Mansion
Doyle designed the mansion himself, choosing the location in Surrey believing the area's mild climate would ease the suffering of his wife Louisa, who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.   (Getty Images)

Campaigners fighting to save the house where Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some of his most famous stories say they're dealing with a case of greedy developers—and snobbish officials. The Sherlock Holmes creator built his mansion, Undershaw, in the 1890s. It has fallen into disrepair in recent years and developers have won permission to gut the interior, including Doyle's study, and turn the building into apartments, the Independent reports. Famous guests at Undershaw included Virginia Woolf and Dracula creator Bram Stoker.

Campaigners are seeking to have the local council's decision overturned and turn the building into a self-financing Holmes/Doyle museum. The council, however, says it plans to "robustly" defend its decision, and a government report concluded that neither the building nor the author are important enough to merit the highest level of preservation order. "He cannot be said to be an author of the standing of, for example, Charles Dickens or Jane Austen," the report sniffed. (More Sherlock Holmes stories.)

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