Norwood’s Literary Heritage

I moved to the Norwood area (Upper Norwood to be exact) in 1997. Norwood possesses the advantage of being high above sea level which means the air is much fresher than certain other areas in the sprawling mass which constitutes greater London. The name Norwood derives from “The Great North Wood”, vestiges of which can still be glimpsed by residents and visitors alike.

Norwood has a fascinating history including a rich literary heritage. Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor and the Queen’s Hotel which stands some 10 minutes walk from my home has a plaque commemorating the French novelist, Zola’s residence, (Zola fled France at the time of the Dreyfus Affair. He advocated for Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer falsely accused of spying for a foreign power).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sets one of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, “The Adventure Of The Norwood Builder” in the area, (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/AdveNorw.shtml). In “The Norwood Builder” the former lover of the mother of a local solicitor fakes his own death and attempts to frame her son. However, in his usual brilliant manner Holmes proves the innocence of the son and the builder is apprehended.

There is a fascinating article on the history of Norwood here, (http://www.norwoodsociety.co.uk/articles/68-on-the-trail-of-norwood.html).

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