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Alternative facts hit the Doylean world

I did state some time ago that I intended to avoid the subject of Undershaw on this blog but a recent news story doing the rounds in the media needs to be corrected.

The story is about the "restoration" of Undershaw - we'll skip over the fact that this is a refurbishment more than a restoration - and has been picked up by the online editions of several UK newspapers.

For the purposes of this article I'm looking at that carried by The Sun.

Error 1 - "Legendary author penned Hound of the Baskervilles in study at Undershaw in Hindhead"

Correction - He penned the overwhelming majority of the story in London and Dartmoor as clearly shown in his letters to his mother and other members of his family.

Error 2 - The family lived there from 1897 - 1906

Correction - It was 1897 - 1907.

Error 3 - "The property had fallen into disrepair after it was left derelict in 2004."

Correction - In 2004 the property was in perfectly sound condition as it had only just stopped being a working hotel. It deteriorated over the years that followed due to the neglect shown by its then owners and vandalism due to a lack of on-site security.
Me studying the house in 2010

Error 4 - "And because we were able to build an extension we didn’t really have to touch anything of the original house. One wall was knocked down to connect the extension to the house and one internal wall was changed."

Correction - Then you did rather "touch" the original house didn't you?

Error 5 - "But apart from that it is the same. His study where he wrote Hound of the Baskervilles is now the headteacher’s office..."

Correction - See error 1

Error 6 - No mention of the Undershaw Preservation Trust.

Correction - It is safe to say that the UPT and DFN Foundation didn't see eye-to-eye but without the efforts of the UPT the school would not be in the house. It would have been carved up by the developers that owned it previously.

The UPT without which the house would have been lost

But hey, we live in a world of alternative facts now and I'm sure this reads better than the proper version.


Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here
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