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posted 14 Mar 2012, 13:29 by Billy Nomates   [ updated 30 Aug 2019, 01:15 ]
Looking around for allies in the Save Chatterton's Cottage project I decided to contact The Literary Houses Group. The gentleman running it, Mr. Henry Cobbold, replied very positively, advising The Chatterton Society to get in touch with the Heritage Lottery fund. As he said, the Society should consider putting together a rescue plan using a Heritage Lottery Fund grant... 'You never know, the City of Bristol may consider being a partner in such a bid.'
I immediately got in touch with The Chatterton Society and also The Bristol Evening Post with his advice.
Meanwhile, just a couple of days later, I received this email:


Henry Cobbold has forwarded your letter as I am involved in a campaign to save Conan Doyle’s house 'Undershaw', in Surrey, is a Grade II Listed Building commissioned to his own designs by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1897.  It is a great example of late Victorian architecture and was built as a place for the rest and recouperation for his wife. Here he wrote ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ and entertained many notable people, including Bram Stoker, the author of ‘Dracula’, J M Barrie, the creator of ‘Peter Pan’, and the young Virginia Woolf. After Conan Doyle sold it thirty years later, it became an hotel, until bought by 'developers' in 2004.  The house has been empty ever since and is being allowed to deteriorate subject to planning permission to develop the site into a terrace of three houses.  This permission has been granted by the local authority by a 7-1 vote, apparently in the belief that the house has no actual or potential cultural significance, and on appeal we must convince them otherwise.
What we are hoping for is something on the lines of a Conan Doyle Museum & Centre for British and Irish Crime Writing, with a library, conference facilities and perhaps a writer in residence.  This has gained widespread support or help from the British Association for Victorian Studies, the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies, the North American Victorian Studies Association, the London 19th Century Seminar, the European Architectural Heritage Network, the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, the Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western US, the Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education, the Society of Architectural Historians, the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, the European Society for the Study of English, the Société des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur and the Asociación española de estudios anglo-americanos, as well as a growing number of literary societies. We have also been gathering the support of individual scholars and academics for this – ‘Academics for Undershaw’ – the list so far is attached – and I can only suggest that the Chatterton Society goes down a similar route.
I would of course be happy to sign any petition.

Yours sincerely,


David Charles Rose


D.C. Rose M.A. (Oxon), Dip.Arts Admin (NUI-Dublin)
Editor, THE OSCHOLARS and VISIONS; General editor, www.oscholars.com &
Editorial Advisory Board, Irish Studies Review and Literary London
Paris correspondent, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide
Convenor, Magdalen en France
Co-ordinator 'Academics for Undershaw'
Past President, Société Oscar Wilde en France
1 rue Gutenberg, Paris XV

This is how it looked in Conan Doyle's time...

And how it looks now.
Go to the Undershaw Preservation Trust and learn the whole story and what you can do to help.