Undershaw, the house in which Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned The Hound of the Baskervilles, is under threat from developers, with a Judicial Review of the proposed work fixed for tomorrow (Wednesday 23 May).
Mark Gatiss, who co-created the BBC’s Sherlock series, is patron of The Undershaw Preservation Trust, which is campaigning to keep the historic building intact.
Gatiss called the situation “a three-pipe problem,” adding “It's a national disgrace that the house has been left to rot. Doyle is one of our greatest writers.
“The best thing to do is to try and raise awareness and hope that will influence the outcome [of the Judicial Review].”
Holmes fans can lend their support for the campaign by joining its Facebook page, which currently has over 12,000 followers, or by clicking the "Like" button against upcoming book Sherlock’s Home: The Empty House on Amazon.co.uk.
The book is the work of website Sherlockology and features 30 short stories and poems about the detective written by fans, along with messages of support from famous names including Gatiss, Stephen Fry and Sherlock Holmes actors Douglas Wilmer, Nick Briggs and Roger Llewellyn.
The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon, while founders of Sherlockology will be handing out copies at the Judicial Review at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Should the campaign be successful, proceeds will go towards helping to restore Undershaw to its former glory. If development work goes ahead, the site hopes to use the money raised to create a full photographic record of the house.
Conan Doyle resurrected Sherlock Holmes while living at Undershaw, in the short story The Adventure of the Empty House. He also wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles there - arguably the detective's most famous adventure - and entertained literary contemporaries including Bram Stoker, JM Barrie and Virginia Woolf.
Conan Doyle built Undershaw in 1897 on a site in Hindhead, Surrey, deemed favourable for the health of his first wife Louise, who was suffering from tuberculosis. He was living there when he was knighted in 1902. Louise died in the house in 1906.
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