When you enter 221B Baker Street, London, you won’t need to do much detective work to figure out that you are in the real-life version of the imaginary home of Sherlock Holmes–just look at the hats and coats hanging by the door.
Actually, you’re entering the first floor of the popular Sherlock Holmes museum, which you indeed will find at 221 Baker Street, London.
From the foyer, it’s up some stairs to the main living quarters of Sherlock Holmes. The amount of detail in a real house meant to look like the home of a fictional character is a bit astounding, and maybe it’s a tribute to the creativity of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the rich character he created. However, at some level, I find it to be completely ridiculous. But if you’re there, you just go with it, so I will be referring to Mr. Holmes as if he were real person (and for some people, he may be).
In the drawing room, you’ll spot all kinds of familiar Holmes’ treasures, such as a violin, books and scientific experiments. You can take your picture with a deer stalking hat and pipe. It was hard to get a wide view of the room because it was jammed with people!
Like any good English citizen, Holmes has several pictures and a bust of Queen Victoria on display. While the Victorians may have been prim and proper, there’s no privacy for Mr. Holmes as you get to poke around his bedroom where you’ll find lots more books and scientific gear.
Before you head to the third floor, there is a place where you can leave your calling card for Sherlock Holmes, and we did just that (he has yet to return the favor).
On the third floor, you’ll find the “museum” part of the Sherlock Holmes museum, which was much less crowded. There are displays featuring “props” from Holmes’ famous cases. Small cards explain each piece and its connection to which Sherlock story.
However, my favorite part was the large figures posed in scenes from Holmes stories – so cheesy and some of them were rather grizzly!
I must confess that before I went to the museum I had never read a Sherlock Holmes story, so many of the references were lost on me. I did like the large “Hound of the Baskervilles” whose head was mounted to the wall. Underneath the hound, you can read real letters that real people sent to the fictional detective. Coincidentally, the letter on display was from a girl in Baltimore, where I live.
My brief introduction to the Holmes stories had me intrigued, so when I got home I downloaded some, except I need a consulting detective to help me uncover more time to read!
In the next post, we’ll look at Sherlock Holmes’ bathroom, quirky souvenirs in the gift shop and a must-see at the Baker Street tube stop.