Certain books were a fixture in our house growing up, and I can remember winters by the fire with illustrated editions of various Victorian novels. Amongst my favourites were the Sherlock Holmes series. (I think everyone in my family loves a mystery story, my mum remembered her Grandmother reading Agatha Christie at the breakfast table on a Sunday, so it goes back generations!)
As a child, I didn’t get the significance of things like the lack of policing or forensics in crime scene investigation, or the strange fascination people had with crime and mysteries follwing the Jack the Ripper murders, I just liked the daring, the adventure and the way that things seemed impossible but always had a logical conclusion. Watson and Sherlock were often kind men, intervening to protect the innocent, and the only person to ever escape Sherlocks brilliant deduction skills, was a woman.
Sherlock Holmes is described as living at 221b Baker St in London, an address that doesn’t actually exist. Over the years, letters were written to the address, and eventually a blue plaque was erected and a museum put in. In this museum, you can see a lot of the letters from all over the world that still get sent to Mr Holmes even today, as well as many “artifacts” and “souveniers” from Sherlock and Watsons adventures.
As far as museums go, in some ways it lacks explanations. There are labels on things, but they don’t explain whole stories or circumstances. Perhaps this is to avoid spoilers, or perhaps to encourage people to take a guided tour. I think if you hadn’t read loads of the Conan Doyle books, you might feel a little lost. Which is a shame. What it does have is some great creepy wax work tableaus from the stories, which I sort of love/hate, and loads of beautiful antiques, which I couldn’t help but take loads of pictures of.
I love the way that the whole building evoked an era, from the architectural style, to the wall paper, furniture and loads of stuffed birds, prints, old photographs, antique books and medicine bottles. There’s loads of brass implements everywhere and fascinating oddities in the glass cases, including a severed thumb, and a pair of human ears from a story, and various other things.
The whole experience was really immersive, and I came home wanting to redecorate my whole house, and curl up with a mystery story by the fire.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum, if you want to check it out, is right near Baker St tube, and is open every day of the year, except Christmas and Boxing Day, for more details, please CLICK HERE.