Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Jane Austen's House Museum

A meeting with Louise, Curator at the Jane Austen's House Museum in which several interesting points were raised at running a successful business. We learned much and took away with us several valid ideas and with the knowledge the Museum is fully behind us with their morale support in all our endeavours.

Out of this meeting, we have several avenues to follow up on.

The picture shows the original table where Jane Austen wrote her famous novels.

Hindhead Councillor - Christiaan Hesse

For the regeneration of Hindhead, Undershaw could play a very important part for tourism and education. Councillor Hesse who is mediator between the Trust and Waverley Borough Council agrees that Undershaw should be part of the regeneration plan and gave the following statement:

"As a local councillor representing Hindhead I am passionately concerned with the 'success' of Hindhead as a whole. There is no doubt that Undershaw could be a major part of the Hindhead 'brand' - after all who hasn't heard of Sherlock Holmes around the world? As such, Undershaw could significantly reinforce social, cultural economic factors in the Hindhead Regeneration plan. However, a funded plan must be found - in cooperation with the current owner - to find an alternative to the current development plan for which planning consent has been approved. This will break the existing building up and render the Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes link lost in the same way as has happened to other Hindhead buildings.

I admire the save Undershaw team and their aspiration and I support it wholeheartedly. They have worked extremely hard to and I am delighted to provide a bridge between The Undershaw Preservation Trust and Waverley Borough Council in order to improve cooperation in this endeavour . I wish them every success - but it all comes down to money. Concerned readers should get ready to put their hands in their pockets!"

The Tunnel Walk Through

Going back to our Undershaw Day on May 14th which we decided to run concurrently with the Hindhead Tunnel Walk Through which incidentally was a great success for the tunnel and Undershaw.

It was tremendous fun with a variety of reps and supporters giving their Saturday up to spread the word of UPT's work to some 7,000 visitors to the area.

Deerstalkers were provided by Guy Marriott (President of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London) and John Gibson, FRICS (Chairman of the Undershaw Preservation Trust) and were handed out to many the many walkers of the tunnel.

Our helpers were the jolly Marie, Kristina and Katherine (our rep for York) better known as our fabulous Baker Street Babes. Vicky (our rep for Haslemere (helped by members of her family). Supporters Linda Eades and Cassie Parkes. Our fabulous colleague and Trust member Sue Meadows and her family also did a grand job with spreading the word in Grayshott. Several visitors made the journey to Hindhead to soak up the fun and an opportunity to come along and say hello.


The Mayor of Haslemere

The recently appointed Mayor of Haslemere is Councillor Jim Edwards who incidentally was the only councillor who voted against the planning application for development. Councillor Edwards said at the meeting on the 9th June 2010 when he spoke out against the development:
"Undershaw has got tremendous historic importance and the local people are really against this development and I can understand why, it is over development and I know my learned friends have said they don't really believe what the Town Council say, but it really is a massive development in my opinion unacceptable". Here is a Councillor that spoke with the local people in mind. I know who I am voting for at the next election, don't you? Well done at becoming Mayor Cllr Edwards.

Undershaw Christmas Card

This is a sneak preview of our 2011 Christmas Card (the card has been purposely cropped to give it a that slight touch of mystery) which will be available in the next couple of weeks. You can purchase them in packs of 5 (all one design) for £10.00 per pack. Available from:

Designed by Jennifer Hunt from the USA who has indicated that she would be happy to oblige with next year's Christmas Card regardless of the outcome of the Judicial Review.

Who know's it could become a regular yearly project - I wonder if Jennifer is up for it?

The Hindhead Golf Club

Also in September I had the greatest of priviliges to meet and chat with British golfing champion, BBC broadcaster and presenter and golf course designer, Peter Alliss at a flag raising ceremony and black tie dinner in honour of Conan Doyle who founded the club in 1904 and was it's first president.

The Undershaw Preservation Trust was invited to put on a display of Conan Doyle's time in Hindhead.

Richard Doyle and his wife were guests of honour at the dinner. In the picture l to r Richard Doyle, Wing Commander Nigel Nugent (Club President), Jack Buchanan and Peter Alliss.

Our thanks to the Hindhead Golf Club for being so supportive with our efforts to Save Undershaw.

The British Library Publishes the Narrative of John Smith

It was quite an honour to be invited to the British Library at the end of September in celebration of the publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's new book: 'The Narrative of John Smith. There were several highlights to the evening, one being meeting the charming actor Robert Lindsay, and the other to view for the first time the original manuscript of the said book that Doyle wrote when he was in his early twenties.

It was a 'lost' first novel by Arthur Conan Doyle which the British Library published on 26th September 128 years after it was written.

The book's manuscript written in 4 black notebooks along with other documents was bought by the British Library for £1M. The 130 page work as now be transcribed and typeset for worldwide release to accompany an exhibition of Conan Doyle-abilia at the British Library.

Many years after writing the Narrative, Conan Doyle said he would be horrified if the book ever appeared in print.

Conan Doyle was living and working as a doctor in Portsmouth when he embarked on the novel in 1883. His father had been ill due to alcholism, and the 23 year old had to fund his mother and fund eduction for his 10 year old brother.

Doyle was frustrated by the Victorian practice of omitting the author's name especially when one of his works 'The Cornhill' was hailed as being by Robert Louis Stevenson's. For this reason, he attempted a novel, which would have his name on the front cover. Then came a major blow when the Narrative was lost in the post, never to be found again. Doyle then wrote the entire story again from memory the results being with the British Library today.