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A better claim for Undershaw


As readers of this blog will know, I am a big supporter of the movement to save Undershaw (Arthur Conan Doyle’s former Surrey home) from redevelopment. It therefore irks me a little when others who also support this aim make inaccurate claims for the house.

The most persistent of these is that Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles at Undershaw. This is only partially true and should therefore not be used as a major literary reason for saving the house.

The story was first serialised in The Strand Magazine and began publication just prior to the opening of William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes play at the Lyceum Theatre. Conan Doyle wrote the story in chunks and sent it piecemeal to the magazine as he went along. Consequently, parts were written in Dartmoor, parts in central London and some, no doubt, at Undershaw.

A better literary claim for Undershaw is that it was the site of Holmes’s formal rebirth with many, but not all, of the stories making up The Return of Sherlock Holmes having been penned there.

Surely…

Undershaw - the site of Sherlock Holmes’s rebirth

…is better than…

Undershaw – where some of The Hound of the Baskervilles was written.


For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

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