Literary London – Sherlock Holmes made real

Fans of Sherlock Holmes know that the fictional detective lived at 221b Baker Street, London, UK. In October, Will and I took the tube to the famous street and were greeted by a statue of the detective, erected by the Sherlock Holmes Society – our first clue that we’d got off at the right stop.

Will and Sherlock

In 1990, the Society bought the building at 221b Baker and opened the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Inside, they’ve recreated the boarding house rooms as they might have looked when occupied by Holmes, his colleague Dr. Watson, and his landlady Mrs. Hudson, based on details gleaned from the Holmes’  stories. Holmes’ bedroom was at the rear, adjoining the study … Doctor Watson’s bedroom was on the second floor next to Mrs. Hudson’s room and it overlooked an open yard at the rear of the house. The sitting room overlooking Baker street was, by Watson’s account, “illuminated by two broad windows,” and there were seventeen steps from the ground floor hallway to the first floor study.

Did the Sherlock Holmes Society alter the building to faithfully match the story details? They better had, since Holmes’ legion of fans are likely to share their hero’s attention to detail and precision.

Watson in the sitting room

Unless you’re an avid Holmes fan, you’ll likely to find the museum overpriced. As much as the Holmes’ connection, I enjoyed it for the glimpse of a typical Victorian boarding house – an interesting contrast to the more commonly preserved home tours of the rich. Homes’ and Watson’s rooms were small and cramped.

The boarding house’s rooms contain memorabilia from Holmes’ and Watson’s adventuress, objects they were reported to have used and letters from readers asking for help with solving their own mysteries. You’d think living, breathing Holmes and Watson had lived here. Throughout the house, wax figures portray scenes from the stories.

Which one is real?

Outside, on the front fence, hang deerstalker and bowler hats so you can be Holmes and Watson standing  in front of the famous address. If you’re lucky, a constable will appear to complete the picture.

Holmes, Contable & Watson at 221B Baker St.