The Chestnuts

Anyone who has ever studied Lewis Carroll knows that The Chestnuts in Guildford, Surrey,(above) was very important to him. This is the house he leased for his many unmarried sisters after they had to move out of Croft Rectory in the late 1860s, and from that time till his death in 1898 it was really his home away from Oxford. This is where he made friends, took friends to stay, and spent Christmas and other holidays. He records in his diary how in 1881 he bought the house a "Christmas present" of a "ventilating lamp" which everyone was much pleased with. It probably looked something like this...

After Croft, The Chestnuts is certainly the most important house to be associated with him. When I have visited it it has always looked a bit scruffy but I was told that it belonged to Carroll fans who were hoping to restore it and were meanwhile letting it to students. I have looked at it occasionally when I have passed and it is clear that it is not in a very good state. This article confirms that the current owners have neglected it and don't care about it.

An article in 2012 in another local paper commented on the loss of the plaque, but nothing has been done about this.

Any Carroll fans who are unhappy about the condition of this house might like to write to Guildford Borough Council to point out that the building is Grade II listed as of architectural and historical interest, and they are concerned at its present condition. Councils have a lot of demands on their time and money but the fact that this house matters to so many potential visitors to the town might give a protest that "squeaky wheel" factor that makes them do something about it! Here are the council's contact details - you need to write to the Planning Officer.