Monday, 11 March 2013

The Adventure of Sherlock's Home

For the entirety of my time as a Holmesian I've been hiding a dark secret that I've been ashamed to announce; I've never been to the 'real' 221B Baker Street. Thankfully, that was finally rectified this weekend.  

I was at first amazed by the huge queue stretched along Baker Street outside. It's great to see so many enthusiastic fellow Holmes fans, adorned in deerstalkers (something I will one day come to own) and grabbing photos with the man dressed as a Victorian policeman outside. 
Inside 221B fits that weird feeling you get when you step onto a television set or meet someone famous, like you can't quite fit seeing them/it in reality rather than on the telly. Holmes' and Watson's study on the first floor felt very familiar, from Watson's writing desk, Holmes' knife stuck in the mantelpiece to the pair's chairs by the fire (yes, I know they weren’t real). My favourite bit was probably looking out of the windows of this Mock-Victorian room, from which Holmes looks out of regularly in the stories, to see modern shops and cars going past. And, although I know that it’s a museum and so that's the point in it, it’s nice to have this piece of Late-Victorian London preserved in the modern-day city. 

Also fun was Holmes’ bedroom (all right, he’s not real, just indulge me) which had an assortment of familiar items like Irene Adler’s photograph and also some less known ones…

I don’t remember a wooden tortoise at Holmes’ bedside mentioned in any of the stories…

Famously, the museum still receives letters addressed to the Great Detective, several interesting ones of which are on show; here's my favourite one.

On the second floor the museum has a selection of waxworks of characters from the canon including this bunch:

Dr Grimesby Roylott, of The Speckled Band, frozen in his chair after a fatal bite from his own murder weapon, the Swamp Adder Snake.

That master blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton looking rather terrified (find out why by…going to the museum).

The Napoleon of Crime himself, Professor James Moriarty is probably my favourite of these, looking exactly like the one from Sidney Paget’s wonderful illustrations. In a nice idea, his piercing gaze is directly staring at…

Holmes and Watson themselves (plus mad old Lady Carfax)! Not sure the Dr Watson waxwork really fits my mind’s eye version of the character; Watson should look stouter and somewhat puffier, this waxwork just looks lost and foolish (yes, it’s a waxwork of a fictional character but just let me run with it). And a blonde Holmes? What next, a female Watson! Oh right, ahem…

Overall, the experience was just a nice reminder of how, after over a hundred years since his conception, Sherlock Holmes is still just as popular as ever.

You might be thinking I got a little to into all this but probably not as much as the non-Holmesian I was on the visit with who really did not understand my repeated cries of 'look how cool this stuff is.' Hopefully, though, there’s some Holmesians out there who understand the thrill of stepping up those 17 steps (yeah, I counted) and visiting the home of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (they’re pretty much real, ok?).

Funnily enough, after we left Baker Street myself and my companions had our own adventure as we became separated on the Tube, accidentally getting different trains. I'm afraid I won't be telling you the tale now as that's a story for which the blogging world is not yet prepared...


  1. Awesome stuff, I would like to visit there one day!

    Just letting you know that I’ve awarded you the Dragon’s Loyalty Award :)

  2. I heartily recommend it. And thanks, very much appreciated! :D


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