Ipswich: Church with links to Sherlock Holmes author is up for auction
13:34 21 February 2014
All old houses have a history – but some are perhaps more colourful than most.
Back in the 1920s when all matters psychic were slightly risque, Ipswich became home to one of only a handful of spiritualist organisations in the country.
The Cedars Spiritualist Church was visited by people from far and wide, including Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose fascination in the beyond stretched to a series of books about spiritualism.
But the church, on the corner of Paget Road and Anglesea Road, is set to go under the hammer next month with a guide price of between £500,000 and £700,000.
Kandi Munson, The Cedars’ president, said she was looking for premises more suited to what the church offers, with healing, yoga, meditation and teaching courses as well as regular services.
She said the imposing Victorian property was originally bought in the 1920s for £800 and records show that Ipswich Psychic Society, as the church was once known, was a real crowd puller with garden parties, a talk at Ipswich Picture House that attracted about 1,000 people and other events. Miss Munson added: “We had our own mediums, Joan Brown and Dorothy Abraham, who lived here in the flats above the church for many years.
“They talked about people arriving in horse and carriages from London, visits from and to Native Indians in Canada and, of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who came to society meetings on a number of occasions.
“We’ve got all his books on spiritualism –- all first editions which he gave us. They are locked away but they won’t be sold as part of the house. They are too precious and will be coming with us to our new home.”
Auctioneer Tim Golding said: “It’s a special property and not just because of its history.”
The Cedars will be going under the hammer at Goldings Auctions at Wherstead Park on Wednesday, March 5.