ACD and Whaling

On March 22nd I attended a talk on Conan Doyle and the whale which was held at the National Liberal Club in London. The talk did not exactly revolve around Conan Doyle but used him as a starting point from which to discuss the whole whaling industry which, when Conan Doyle experienced it, was starting (mercifully) to decline.

Conan Doyle (far right) on the Hope

The speaker, Philip Hoare, clearly knew his subject and the audience were left in no doubt of the impact the experience had on Conan Doyle at a time when his writing career did not really even exist. He was still yet to qualify as a doctor at this point.

The interesting news of the evening was that Conan Doyle's Whaling diary (from which we heard some excerpts) is soon to be published.

Save Undershaw is relaunched

The Save Undershaw website has had a face lift. You can now pledge future donations to the cause. Check it out here.

More on Barts Lecture

My talk on Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle and Barts is now officially set for June 27th at 7pm. My understanding is that priority for seats will be given to students and staff at the hospital but that should not deter people from applying. At present I have no details of exactly how you go about booking but as soon as I know I shall post details.

This will be very much an introductory talk that assumes minimal familiarity with the books. Therefore if you know your Holmes this may not be for you.

Undershaw limerick

There once was a house in Hindhead
That looked rather sad and neglected
Conan Doyle - in his grave
said "get a move on and save"
so the UPT rose up and directed

Updated book purchase page

I've revamped my page advertising An Entirely New Country. It now includes a list of topics. Purchasing links are at the foot of the page.


Undershaw article in Haslemere Herald

The article below appeared in the Haslemere Herald on February 24th. Many thanks to reporter Caroline Toms for permission to display it here.

Visit the Haslemere Herald on-line version at

The Undershaw Preservation Trust – How you can help

The Undershaw Preservation Trust is the organisation solely responsible for bringing about the Judicial Review (being held on May 23rd) that will hopefully reverse the decision of Waverly Borough Council permitting the carving up of this historic home into a series of separate dwellings.

For legal reasons I won’t go into here (and don't fully understand), the UPT is not permitted to fund raise in connection with the Judicial Review itself but can bring in revenue to fund the campaign to raise awareness of the house’s plight.

You can contribute to this in one of several ways:

1. You can buy items from the UPT shop - Money raised from sales goes towards raising awareness and towards the UPT’s day-to-day running costs (website etc).

2. You can buy my book An Entirely New Country. 50% of the book’s net royalties go to the trust for the same purpose.

3. I believe there is a plan to allow people to pledge money to the UPT until such time as it is able to receive formal donations (which it cannot do at present). In due time people will be able to pledge on the website. However until such time as this can be done, pledges can be made via emails to

So now you know how you can help.

Undershaw Preservation Trust Website

It would appear that someone has chosen to 'hack' the main website of the UPT. When you attempt to visit it starts to redirect you to some other location. People should keep away from the site until it is repaired.

I am not involved in the site but as soon as I learn it is up again I shall post here.

Swiss article - first draft submitted

I have just now emailed my draft article to the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. I can reveal that it concerns everybody's favourite mastermind - Moriarty.

Now this is all I will say as I don't want to spoil it.

My Haslemere Festival Appearance can now be booked

Undershaw - Don't forget

In a little less than three months the Judicial Review on the future of Undershaw will take place at the High Court. I thought therefore it would be a good idea to provide some background in the form of a FAQ.

1. What is Undershaw?

Undershaw is the former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He lived in it from 1897 – 1907 when he moved to Crowborough to live with his second wife.

Undershaw in the 1890s

2. What is going to happen to it?

After it was sold by Conan Doyle it became a hotel. This hotel operated until 2004 at which point it closed down. It was bought by a developer who has secured planning permission to convert the house into a number of town houses and build additional houses on the site. It is this permission that the Judicial Review may affect.

3. Why is it important?

Undershaw is the only house that Arthur Conan Doyle helped to design. It was also the site of many important acts in British literary history. Parts of The Hound of the Baskervilles were written in it. Sherlock Holmes was officially resurrected within its walls and it was the site of the creation of many of Conan Doyle’s non-Holmes work. He lived at Undershaw when he was knighted in 1902 and his first wife Louise died in the house in 1906.

Undershaw in 2012

If the proposed development goes ahead it will irreversibly damage the building and much of its internal layout will be changed.

The Judicial Review will be held on May 23rd 2012. Spread the word, keep this cause in the public eye.

A more detailed post on Undershaw can be found here