DEEDS PROVE DISRAELI LINK; Campaigners' Delight after Cottage Discovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Malyon

THE discovery of a 124-yearold document has proved the connection between a former British Prime Minister and a building in Nuneaton threatened with demolition. Famous Victorian statesman Benjamin Disraeli put his signature and seal to an indenture on May 5, 1876 for the purchase of what is now 59 Old Hinckley Road.

He agreed to pay the Church of England pounds 141 10s 4d - equivalent to around pounds 90,000 in today's money - to buy the land, along with Henry Thomas Saunders, described as a railway clerk from London.

The framed, hand-written deeds have now been found in an office at the Bedworthbased charity People in Action charity, who are partowners of the property, along with Warwickshire Primary Care Trust.

As the Telegraph revealed last week, an application has been made to the borough council to knock down the detached stone house which stands on the site, and replace it with a block of flats for people with mental and physical disabilities.

But heritage campaigners are firmly against the proposal and local resident Alan Morris said: "I have spent the last 15 years trying to establish the link between this cottage and Disraeli. I am astonished and delighted that the proof has finally come to light. Now efforts must be made to preserve what is a real, undisputed piece of history."

Disraeli, who was Conservative Prime Minister on two occasions, in 1868 and 1874, bought the Nuneaton plot off the Ecclestiastical Commissioners through their representative, the Reverend Henry Walford Bellairs. He was the town vicar in the late 19th century and, astonishingly, also acted in the sale of a neighbouring piece of land to another former Prime Minister.

In 1883 - seven years after Disraeli's deal - his fiercest political rival, William Ewart Gladstone, also took possession of some real estate in Nuneaton, paying the Church less than pounds 300 for a triangular plot adjacent to Hinckley Road. …