170-yr-old sycamore tree that inspired Sherlock Holmes tales succumbs to disease

January 14th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 14 (ANI): A sycamore that stood in the garden where the young Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to write his first stories has been cut down because of disease.

As a schoolboy, the creator of Sherlock Holmes would clamber on the branches of the tree in the grounds of Liberton Bank House in Edinburgh.

Dunedin School, a special school that recently moved into the 18th-century building-where the tree stood for 170 years-has now decided to create a violin from the its wood, in tribute to the celebrated detective and his love for playing the instrument.

It is hoped that the 1,800 pounds violin, to be made by the Edinburgh-based instrument maker Steve Burnett, for the 150th anniversary of Conan Doyle’’s birth in May.

“We had no alternative but to knock down the tree, as the rotting in its roots were so severe, the Scotsman quoted Joan Foulner, a history teacher at the school, which caters for pupils with learning and behavioural problems as saying.

“It’’s been here for so long, and with its connections with Arthur Conan Doyle, there was no way we could just knock it down and have it turned into woodchips.

“We had been looking for an idea for some kind of tribute to Sherlock Holmes when one of the garden volunteers read an article about a local violin maker.

We”ve raised the money to pay for the violin through donations, and we hope it will be finished in time for the anniversary of Conan Doyle’’s birth,” Foulner added.

And, rather than have the violin stored under lock and key in a display cabinet, the school has proposed making it available for lessons.

Mr Burnett, who makes violins to order at his workshop in Edinburgh, said: “Sycamore is ideal for making violins, and there’’s a lovely story behind this one because of Liberton Bank House’’s links with Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

“If you ask people to name a well-known violinist, many of them will say Sherlock Holmes.” (ANI)

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