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Undershaw - Fight for its future


I first got involved with Undershaw back in 2009 through an organisation called “Hindhead Together”. A year later, when that organisation’s interest appeared to be on the wane, I became involved with “The Undershaw Preservation Trust”. Since that time there have been highs and lows. The planning permission was granted and challenged, the house fell into disrepair and nothing seemed to be getting done to address the deterioration. The very people whose job it was to guard the building just stood to one side and it was suggested in some circles that the very people who were trying to save the house (i.e. the UPT and those of a like mind) were principally responsible for its decline by standing in the way of the redevelopment that was proposed. The redevelopment was touted as the best (perhaps only) way of guaranteeing any future for the house.
Undershaw - Feb 2012

Finally in May 2012 we had the Judicial Review - which was won by the UPT; appealed against by Undershaw's owners; the appeal refused; an appeal made against the rejected appeal and, finally, that appeal rejected.

Despite the above, and maddening though it is, there is no guarantee that the legal process has come to an end.

What was a relatively modest movement, in terms of the number of people involved, has grown, especially during the last year, into something much more significant. Through the power of social media the word has spread. Several books (starting with my biography of Conan Doyle’s time at Undershaw) have been produced where some or all of the proceeds have been placed at the UPT’s disposal and there have been many events that have promoted the cause. The supporters of Undershaw can possibly be accused of many things but sitting on their collective hands cannot be one of them.

Local press interest from The Haslemere Herald Feb 2012
However, the situation now is no less perilous for Undershaw. The legal (and other) victories will be hollow unless the house can be taken in hand. Our biggest enemies now are time and nature. Every year that passes brings more weather damage to the house. Given its distinct lack of action to date, it seems unlikely that the council will do anything further to look after the building (unless it is compelled to).

Lunch during break in the Judicial Review proceedings May 23rd 2012
So what do we do? The bottom line is that the house needs to be bought by those sympathetic to its history. This requires two things in order to come about. The present owners need to come round to the idea of selling at a sensible price and money needs to be found.

If you want to do more than voice an opinion you can start by making a pledge which you can do here http://www.saveundershaw.com/pledge-page.html.

This allows you to state how much money you would be prepared to donate to the cause. It is not legally binding but helps to give the UPT a good idea of the money it could reasonably expect to raise. It is not the only revenue stream, you can visit the Undershaw shop at http://www.saveundershawshop.com/index.html and you can buy my book by using the links at the foot of this post.

£1 or $1 it doesn’t matter. Every penny (or cent) counts. Get to it. Then we can hopefully move from Undershaw Preservation to Undershaw Restoration.




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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