SHERLOCK Holmes fans can look forward to a year-long series of events to celebrate the heritage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at Undershaw, his former Hindhead home.
The recently restored, Undershaw is enjoying a new lease of life as the second site for Stepping Stones School.
The first lecture in a busy programme is by Michael Gunton, senior archivist at Portsmouth Library, on ‘Conan Doyle – the Hampshire/Surrey Connection, which starts at 7.30pm, on Wednesday, May 24.
In 2004, Portsmouth City Council was gifted the Lancelyn Bequest, an unique collection of archives, books and objects relating to the author.
The year-long lecture programme, culminates in May 2018 with a Conan Doyle-themed weekend, with lectures, writer’s workshops, detective writing competitions for local schools, an art competition, a murder-mystery dinner, music recital and walks around the landscaped grounds overlooking the
Quoting the great man, headteacher Melissa Farnham said: “Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.
“Whilst those words in ‘His Last Bow’, may have been Sherlock’s swan song, it is a statement that also reflects our school’s ethos today. Our ethos is to empower students to be learners for life. With the gift of Undershaw and the legacy we are honoured to cherish we aim to change mindsets within society, just as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did from his home here in Hindhead.”
Since Stepping Stones opened at Undershaw in September 2016, interest in the school, the restored building and its heritage has grown.
More than 600 people visited Undershaw in its first weekend as part of the opening ceremony and on the English Heritage Open Days. Tour groups are keen to make Undershaw a stopping off point.
In October, a group on a cruise ship from America stopped on their way to London, and were delighted to find it had been restored.
Happy to welcome more overseas Sherlock fans, the school is welcoming three more tours at Undershaw to share its heritage.
The school also hosts a number of community activities at Undershaw and its Tower Road site, including a swim school, a Saturday art class, an English language course, Dave Bell’s Monday evening martial arts class and a monthly disability music group,‘Suzy Songtime’.
• A £10 voluntary donation to the school is invited for the talk on May 24. There is no need to pre-book. For more information about the celebration and how to support the school, go to www.steppingstones. org.uk or call Anne Edward, on (01428) 609953.