Fortean Property Portfolio - NOT for Sale

An unusual entry for the Fortean Property Portfolio - one that's not for sale!

The house is called Undershaw and it's a Grade II listed building and in 1977 it was listed as being of special architectural and historic interest because of its literary association. From 1897 to 1907 this was the home of Arthur Conan Doyle, he moved to nearby Crowborough shortly after the 1906 death of his first wife but he did not sell Undershaw until 1921.

Located near Haselmere in Surrey it eventually became a hotel until 2005 - from which point it has lain empty.  The current owners were granted permission to redevelop the property in 2010 - their plan was to split it up into flats - at least in all fairness they didn't ask to demolish it!

John Gibson set up the Undershaw Preservation Trust to fight the plans and now he has won - admittedly on a technicality in that there were legal flaws in the application to turn the house into eight separate dwellings.

John Gibson is reported in The Guardian as saying "This is a place which is steeped in history and should be treated with reverence. Conan Doyle's life and works are a fundamental part of British culture and arguably their stock has never been higher. We have been absolutely delighted to see enthusiasts from across the world get in touch and pledge their support to our efforts.  We are very hopeful that this decision will signal a sea change in attitude towards this historic property and that it will lead to it being rightly preserved as a single building – hopefully as a museum or centre where future generations can be inspired by the many stories which have been created within its walls".

The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Return of Sherlock Holmes were both written here,  the spiritualist writings post dating the time of Conan Doyle's residence, however we do know that he joined the Society for Psychical Research in the late 1880's so he was interested in the Fortean world at the time of his residence.

Only time will tell what is to happen now to Undershaw - it is to be hoped that it does not suffer the fate of some properties were legal disputes have halted development plans - total wreck and ruin.  Potential plans include the possibilty of a museum - good luck on that!


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