Church where Sherlock author attended seances is up for sale

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CONAN DOYLE : 1921

The church where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle met with psychics has gone on the market for £500,000. The Cedars Spiritualist Church in Ipswich is still in operation, but the church leaders have decided to move to smaller accommodation.

So would you fancy making your home in the church where Conan Doyle tried to contact the dead?
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Sherlock connection

Conan Doyle was one of the most well-known spiritualists of his age. He developed an interest in contacting the dead after the death of his wife and youngest son. He started visiting the church after he said he made contact with his son at a seance.

The church was actually housed in an enormous Victorian home. In the 1920s it was a hugely popular church, and Conan Doyle was just one of thousands who attended regular meetings, talks and garden parties.

House where Conan Doyle attended seances


Would you buy it?

Potential buyers may be attracted by the history of the house. There are also a number of Victorian features intact, and half an acre of land. The auctioneers, Goldings Auctions, say that one possibility is to return the home to the incredible and spacious family home it was built as.

However, it's not going to be cheap. It is up for auction at between £5,000 and £700,000, but it will take far more than that to turn it into a modern family home.

The church is still in operation today, so among the accommodation is the chapel. It also features the kinds of 1970s gas fires, orange curtains and institution carpets that are handy for a municipal building, but not so desirable for a family home.

In the area, there are newly built luxury homes ready to move into, with five bedrooms and substantial grounds for between £800,000 and £995,000. A period property with six bedrooms, modern luxuries and a high standard of decoration is on the market for £795,000. So it's hard to know whether anyone would get a return on their investment.

Alternatively, a buyer could split the church into flats. This could make more practical sense. A two-bedroom flat in the area can fetch £275,000. Assuming you could squeeze seven flats out of the property, that's a decent profit even if you had to spend the same money again on converting the house.

Who knows, maybe there are enough Sherlock Holmes fans out there who would be happy to pay a premium for a flat in Conan Doyle's former church. But what do you think? Is this history intriguing enough to make this anything other than an enormous and daunting project?