By Christina Latham
221b Baker Street, just a name and just a number. However, when Arthur Conan Doyle put pen to paper in 1886, this unassuming location was transformed into the home of a literary legend. Sherlock Holmes is an unlikely hero due to his selfish nature and disregard for consequences. Yet his genius and amusing ways make him a character who has been adored for more than a hundred years.
If you’re looking for a fun activity, in the City of Westminster, this festive period, then why not pop along to the home of Sherlock Holmes. My friend and I didn’t even know that this quaint little museum existed but after dodging the dreaded Madame Tussauds’ queue, we looked up where else we could go in the area. In comparison, the queue to the Sherlock Holmes Museum was long but moved very quickly and we were soon inside the warm, Georgian house, for only £8 I may add.
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John H. Watson lived at 221b Baker Street between 1881-1904, according to the stories. The house is protected by the government due to its “special architectural and historical interest”, while the 1st floor study overlooking Baker Street is still faithfully maintained for posterity as it was kept in Victorian Times.
The museum is fun for old and young alike. It is decorated as it is described in the books and you can really imagine the old detective puzzling mysteries over his pipe. Within each room they have props you can pose with and wax models representing victims and villains from the books including the notorious Moriarty.
The part of the museum that my friend and I particularly enjoyed was a book of all the letters posted to the address throughout the years: from children requesting the great detective to solve their mysteries to adults expressing their love for the novels. The book is full of some great treats including adults who genuinely believe the character to be real and have shown their appreciation for his services to the community.
After your journey around the Georgian town house, you can visit the gift shop next door and indulge yourself with a magnifying glass or a flat cap. It is a really enjoyable experience. Make the most of our city and its literary culture.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum, 221b Baker Street, London NW1 6XE
221b Baker Street is of course a fictional address and is found between numbers 237 and 241 Baker Street. Permission to use the address 221b was given by City of Westminster with the agreement of Royal Mail.