It is one of the most famous addresses in London, nay, the world and yet it is entirely fictional. However, no-one seems to have told the museum that stands there now… Not too sure where I’m headed on this adventure?
Well, then – how about a clue? —->
Did the deer-stalker hat and pipe give it away? OK, so maybe my mystery writing skills aren’t up there with Arthur Conan-Doyle’s but I’m not here to write a mystery story- I’m here to write an adventure! An adventure in the museum dedicated to the world’s most famous detective: the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The website is shockingly awful, but the museum… I’ll be getting to that in good time.
221b Baker Street may be one of the world’s most famous addresses, but my friend Helen and I had a devil of a time finding it! Who knew Baker Street had two halves? Needless to say, we wandered up and down the longer half before we realised our error! Eventually we found our way to the museum and the wonders tat awaited us there…
‘ “I have it here in my museum” said Sherlock Holmes in the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle’…* begins the guiding leaflet, which seems entirely unaware of the fictional nature of its subject it continues with “Now it is possible to see where he lived in Victorian times! The famous study which Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson is on the first floor…”
A wild claim, maybe, but we are reliably informed that the house which is now the shrine to Sherlock Holmes was built in 1815 and was a registered lodging house between the years 1860 and 1934…so Conan-Doyle’s hero would have called something like this home.
So what would one find in the home of the most renowned detective in the world?
Mementos and souvenir’s from his cases of course!
Although, I can’t help but wonder how much of this would count as ‘evidence’ in the real world. After the case is closed, and the baddies get their comeuppance, does the Court still need to keep the evidence? Did things work differently in the Victorian era? Was it a case of ‘Finders Perhaps I’m over thinking this one a little bit.
One thing really stood out for me; the fearsome Hound of the Baskervilles mounted on the wall.
I say ‘fearsome’ but he looks rather cuddly, don’t you think? Maybe I’m more of a dog-person than I realised…
The Blue Carbuncle mentioned earlier, was nowhere to be seen…
One of my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories is A Scandal in Bohemia, which introduces us to the one character who ever bested Holmes at his own game.
This character is always the woman (or should that be The Woman?), or to give her her full name, Irene Adler. Although she only appears once, she’s a significant figure in the Holmesian
Rather than a keepsake of Adler’s, say a handerchief or similar, or even that incriminating photograph of Bohemian Royalty, the museum presents us with a waxworks diorama of the tale.
(Look closely at the King of Bohemia… doesn’t he bear a striking resemblance to current Dr. Who Matt Smith??)
I don’t want to give everything away, one of the joys of the museum is in finding the little objects, the hidden clues and references to cases. It would have been all too easy to turn this post into a photo-story. I decided against this, because I didn’t want to deprive you of discovering everything yourself.
Remember, Holmes isn’t a policeman. He’s a detective for hire. In case you need his services, here is his card:
*so far, the only reference to Sherlock’s museum I can find is a line from a Television adaptation. If you know if Conan-Doyle does make a reference to Sherlock’s museum, I’d be very grateful if you could let me know!
Have you been to the Sherlock Holmes Museum? Did you see the badge shaped like the blue plaque outside? If you missed it, you can see the Sherlock Holmes Badge at the Museum of Museum Badges.