The Sherlock Holmes pub on Northumberland Avenue, near London’s Charing Cross Station, is much like the countless other pubs in the capital. That is until you venture upstairs. Where, in the dining room, is a life-size copy of the apartment shared by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Until 1957, the Sherlock Holmes Pub was known as the Northumberland Arms, until the owners had the fortune to gain possession of an entire exhibit dedicated to the world’s most famous detective that had been created for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Curated by the Westminster Library and sponsored by the Abbey National building society, the Holmes exhibit was as detailed as it was authentic.
After the Festival closed, the whole Holmes collection was installed in the pub, which was re-named in honor of its new fictional tenants on the upper floor. The recreated study of 221b Baker Street is, according to the pub, “as it appeared on a crisp day in the years following the great detective’s return to London in 1894.”
The rooms are decorated with the famous pipe, violin, and scientific equipment, whilst the wall is marked with a VR (for Victoria Regina) made by Holme’s pistol shots. Plaster casts of some great bloodhound prepared by New Scotland Yard lie next to a snuff box of old gold, with a great amethyst in the centre, a gift from the King of Bohemia in connection with the Irene Adler papers.
The attention to detail is remarkable, and the many screen and stage depictions of Holmes and Watson are represented with props and artwork. So lifelike is the representation of 221b Baker Street, that it feels like one has stepped back into Conan Doyle’s Victorian London. As the pub itself puts it;
“The fire glows in the grate, the gas lamps are lit, there are whiskey and brandy in the tantalus. Scattered about are objects relating to the current investigation and relics from past cases. Mr Holmes and Dr. Watson have just gone out, but they will be back at any moment....”
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