Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sir Christopher Frayling

The Trust has today been graced with a statement from Sir Christopher Frayling in his support for Undershaw. Sir Christopher who is ex Chairman of the Arts Council England; ex Rector of the Royal College of Art; currently Professor Emeritus of Cultural History Royal College of Art and Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge wrote the following message of support:

"Undershaw was the much-loved home of Arthur Conan Doyle, once he had become an established writer. Many of the books, pamphlets and articles with which he is now so closely associated were penned there, and he developed a deep relationship with the local community around Undershaw as well. Many of the great names in late Victorian and Edwardian literature visited Conan Doyle at Undershaw for meetings, dinners and cricket matches. I have read several of Conan Doyle's diaries for this period and know just how much time he spent at the house. So it was not a question of "Conan doyle slept here".

Undershaw played an important part in his writing life. One of the most celebrated photographs of Conan Doyle - often reproduced - maybe THE photograph of him shows him, legs crossed, sitting in his writing room at Undershaw surrounded by trophies.

So I fully support the campaign - he'd have liked that word - to preserve and list the currently unlisted parts of the building, ie the stable and the 'well'. By association, and in its own right, Undershaw is a significant house".

Sir Christopher Frayling

Sir Christopher is calling for the two items that have survived for 113 years, the stable and the 'well' to be listed. These two areas of the house were not included in the description which may have been an oversight on English Heritage's part or quite simply that they did not gain access to these two areas at the time of their visit. These items should be listed as is the herladic windows etc. We have made an urgent appeal to Jeremy Hunt MP, asking him to make representation to English Heritage to have these areas included in the description so therefore giving them the listed status they quite rightly deserve. Without this listing, the stables will be ripped out and the 'well' will be buried below one of the new town houses.

A previous article on Sir Christopher Frayling was written and can be viewed in the blog archive section under April. (photo: by Linda Nylind, Guardian)

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