The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Famous Author Dead

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Famous Author Dead is an article published in the Nottingham Evening Post on 7 july 1930.

Obituary of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Famous Author Dead

Nottingham Evening Post (7 july 1930, p. 1)




Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, one the best known of British authors, and creator of the world famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, died suddenly his Crowborough home to-day.

He had been ill since November Last, and his illness attributed to his work in Scandinavia, in October, when he gave a series of lectures on spiritualism.

Lady Conan Doyle's two sons and one daughter were at the bedside.

Sir Arthur had lived at Crowborough for the past 22 years.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would wish his fame to rest upon his beliefs in communication between the living and the dead. It is more likely, however, that "Sherlock Holmes" will be the medium of his immortality.

Sir Arthur was born in Edinburgh, on May 22nd, 1859. He wrote his first look of adventure at the age of six, and illustrated it himself, but his literary career dated more correctly from 19 years of age, when first short story was published in Chamber's Journal.

After Stonyhurst, Doyle studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and it was the inductive methods of his professor, Dr. Bell, that led to the creation later on of famous detective in fiction.

He was an enthusiastic and useful cricketer in his younger days, and once took the wicket of the great "W G." He was caught behind the stumps, and Sir Arthur well remembered that he got some runs himself in that match.

In those days there was a famous bowler named Sherlock. "I cannot really be certain," he said recently, "but it is possible that the name of the bowler Sherlock stuck in my mind and Holmes also may owe its origin to cricket."

In later years, his hobbies were golf, motoring, and billiards.

After taking his degree as M.D. at Edinburgh. Doyle was in medical practice for eight years at Southsea, and later was senior physician of Langman Field Hospital, South Africa.


At 28, he introduced Sherlock Holmes in "A Study in Scarlet," and a few years later produced his masterpiece. "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." In all, he wrote over 60 books and plays.

Sir Arthur vigorously espoused the cause of Oscar Slater, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life for the alleged murder of Marion Gilchrist. Believing that there had been a grave miscarriage of justice, he conducted a strenuous campaign for the re-opening of the case. In this he was ultimately successful, and Slater was acquitted.

A little later, however, Sir Arthur sued Slater for part of the costs of his defence, but the matter was eventually settled amicably.

In a remarkable open letter written in June last year, Sir Arthur said : "We are about to die — you and I. My age is just 70 and I suppose an actuary would give me five more years. It may be ten, or it may be only one. Who can tell?


He claimed to have had conversations with the spirits of Cecil Rhodes at his grave in the Matoppo hills, and also with Lord Haig and Joseph Conrad. "I pledge my honour that Spiritualism is true," said Sir Arthur a few months ago, "and I know that Spiritualism is infinitely more important than literature, art or politics, or, in fact, anything in the world."

In the cause of Spiritualism, he travelled extensively and lectured in all parts of the world. In the psychic museum, which he established Victoria-street, are shown many photographs and records of the phenomena in which he was deeply interested.

In 1900, Sir Arthur contested Central Edinburgh as a Liberal Unionist, and Hawick Burghs as a tariff reformer in 1906, but he probably exerted greater political influence when he called upon all Spiritualists to oppose the Tory Government in the general election of 1929.


He led a bitter tirade against organised Christianity, the principal attack being levelled against the Sacraments and the ritual of church services. In one of his books, he asked: "Has any heathen tribe anything more fantastic than this in its ritual, and can we ever expect the affairs of this world to be normal while we profess to hold views in religion which no sane man could justify?

"If such things have come from the priesthood, then it is time that all priesthood should be swept away, and that the community should take their religious affairs into their own hands."

Sir Arthur was twice married, and his first wife died in 1906. He leaves a widow, two daughters, and two sons.