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The house that inspired Cluedo’s murder-mystery mansion is up for sale

Complete with a secret passage.

Tudor Close, the real-life inspiration for Cluedo
Image credit: Brand Vaughan

The real-life UK house said to have inspired the mansion in board game classic Cluedo has gone up for sale.

Tudor Close in Rottingdean, near Brighton, is described as being the inspiration for Cluedo’s iconic board layout. Early editions of the murder-mystery board game were called Murder at Tudor Close, before it was later retitled by publisher Waddingtons.

The four-bedroom property originally built in the 1920s was renovated in 1937, introducing some of the rooms that would go on to become staple Cluedo locations - including a billiards room and ballroom.

Tudor Close, the real-life inspiration for Cluedo
Image credit: Brand Vaughan

In a blurring of fact and fiction, the real Tudor Close includes a secret passage from its kitchen to a bar - much like the shortcuts players can take on the game’s board to move around more quickly as they collect clues and work out the murder weapon, location and suspect.

Cluedo was created by Anthony E. Pratt in 1943, inspired by his time performing in country homes as a pianist, the popularity of other mystery party games in post-war England and Pratt’s own interest in crime novels. Elva Pratt, Anthony’s wife, co-designed the game and provided the board’s original artwork.

As well as Tudor Close, Cluedo’s fictional mansion has been known by a number of names over the years, including Tudor Mansion and Boddy Manor - reflecting the puntastic name of the murder victim Mr. Boddy in the American edition, known as Mr. Black in the UK. Rather than Tudor Close’s actual location of Sussex, the board game is set in Hampshire during 1926.

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Cluedo isn’t Tudor Close’s only claim to fame. During the 1930s the property served as a hotel, with Hollywood actors including Cary Grant, Bette Davies and Errol Flynn said to have been regulars. If that wasn’t enough, a pre-fame Julie Andrews is rumoured to have performed as a singer in the bar while her parents staffed the hotel. (Thanks, The Argus.)

As you might expect from the house’s legacy, interested buyers will need to stump up a serious wad of cash, with the Grade II property listed by estate agent Brand Vaughan at a price of £1 million. Its listing notes that the owners have hosted Cluedo parties in the board game’s original namesake.

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