Asham House, Woolf’s country home in Sussex from 1912 to 1919, was demolished in 1994 so that a landfill could expand. The Virginia Woolf Society opposed the demolition, but it took place anyway.
The amount paid in compensation to the East Sussex County Council was used in part to set up the Asham Literary Endowment Trust.
Now the 60-acre landfill — which has taken in around 250,000 tons of rubbish each year — is full. It will close today for what operators call a “substantial restoration programme.”
The program will restore the site to a “Sussex Downland standard, in keeping with the surrounding environment and landscape, providing a high quality habitat for plants and animals,” according to a story in the Mid Sussex Times.
When Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived in Asham House, the legend was that the house was haunted. This became the basis for Woolf’s two-page short story “A Haunted House,” which tells the tale of a ghostly couple who glide through the rooms of their well-loved home at night.
Ironically, the gentle ghostly couple were searching for “buried treasure.” But neither Woolf nor her fictional characters could have imagined the tons of trash that would be buried on the site over the course of 15 years.