A Baker Street Irregular

April 14th, 2009 | Posted in General

When you have eliminated the impossible...
In Holmes’ sitting room

London has no shortage of sights to see, and we have barely scratched the surface after only two full days. We’ve been to several famous sections of the city including Covent Gardens, Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, Sloane Square, Regent’s Park, etc. Today we’ll be getting to some of the really big things like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge and others.

The Lovely Anna and I always assemble a list of things we want to see on any trip we take. it consists of “Tom and Anna things”, “Anna things” and “Tom things”. It’s history that interests me most on trips like this, so I like to seek out the exhibits and sights that have historical significance and where I can learn and soak in the history of the places I am visiting. Europe is amazing in that regard, since things that are considered “old” in the USA are brand spanking new compared to things in Europe. Anna likes this as well, so those are always “Tom and Anna things”. Anna loves museums and art, so she usually has a long list of those places she wants to visit. I admit I quickly get bored looking at old paintings and sculptures, especially if they are not from or concerned with the area we are visiting. However, “Anna’s things” list gets it’s due attention, and I always find enough old furniture or architecture to keep me interested.

However I am a geek at heart, so my “list” of things are usually of that ilk. On this short trip to London, I had two things on my list… visiting the “Jack the Ripper” murder sites and 221b Baker Street, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes.

221b Baker Street is the home of the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Just down Baker Street from Marleybone St., it contains a facsimile of the rooms Holmes lived from 1888¬¨‚Ć to 1904 and shared with Dr. John Watson for some of that time. The London tour guides grade the Holmes Mueseum as “overrated” but as a longtime fan of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories I loved it. They paid great attention to detail in constructing the rooms, including such specifics as exactly 17 steps from the street to the flat, the sitting room with the slipper Holmes kept his tobacco in and dozens of other things straight from the stories. I expected meticulous attention to detail… if the proprietors of the museum expected to satisfy real “Sherlockians”, they would need to get it right.

The museum also had upper floors with wax figures depicting some famous moments from Holmes’ adventures, and cases with artifacts from stories as well.

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The mantle with correspondence “transfixed by a knife”, slipper, etc.

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Holmes’ corner laboratory

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The severed human ears in coarse salt from “The Cardboard Box”

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The judgment of “Charles Augustus Milverton”

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Mr. Jabez Wilson copies the Encyclopedia Brittanica from “The Red-Headed League”

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Dr. Grimesby Roylott gets his in “The Speckled Band”

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My father-in-law Joe Voss plays along as Dr. Watson.

One of the best parts was the historical accuracy of the items and rooms. I’m no expert on Victorian era artifacts but the gas lights, the furniture, the decor and items seemed perfectly suited to the times. It was amazing how small the rooms were, but that to is in keeping with Conan Doyle’s descriptions.

All in good fun.

Comments

  1. Nate says:

    That place would be pretty interesting! Have fun!

  2. Robert G. says:

    We were only in London for four hours and the Sherlock Holmes Museum was our choice. It is totally and completely awesome! We got a lot of the same pictures you did (including the obligatory shot with the deerstalker cap and pipe outside).

    I was also surprised at how tiny it was and how much they managed to cram into the tiny space. You gotta admire the dedication of the folks who did it–True Geeks!

  3. Mugshotz says:

    Did you have your Sherlock Holmes Pen with you at the time? And why did they have Prince Charles’ Ears in salt exactly? London is a great town. I only spent one evening there in Picadilly circus but I’ll never forget it.

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