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Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 15:00 GMT
House of the burger meals?
Sherlock Holmes Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce play Holmes and Watson in 1945

A preservation order has been placed on an 18th century house in Edinburgh, which was once a home of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The move by the City of Edinburgh Council means the First Minister Donald Dewar has six months to decide whether the property should be saved or demolished to make way for a McDonald's fast food restaurant.

He must consider whether or not to include the building on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

Holmes statue

Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and author of Hound of the Baskervilles, lived at Liberton Bank House in the 1860's while he attended Newington Academy.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It is the oldest surviving building with links to the author. His birthplace in Picardy Place in the centre of the city was demolished to make way for a roundabout.

A statue of Holmes now stands near the site and another house in which he lived was demolished and replaced by a public toilet.

Liberton Bank House had Listed Building status removed by Historic Scotland in 1997 because it "retained little of its 18th century character".

The local authority objected to that move at the time. It was only recently, however, that evidence showed the house's connection with Conan Doyle.

Preservation notice

Historic Scotland has now stated the building is of sufficient merit to warrant consideration for inclusion on the protected list.

Planning convener Councillor Bob Cairns said he hoped Mr Dewar would re-list the building.

He promised McDonald's that the city's planning department would give them "every assistance" in looking for a new site.

"I think the council has acted very speedily to try to deal with this situation and I hope we get support from Historic Scotland," he said.

Conan Doyle biographer, Owen Dudley Edwards, described the initial proposals as "an effort to sell Scotland's cultural past for a hamburger".
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See also:
22 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Homing in on Sherlock
05 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Alimentary, my dear Watson

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