Monday, February 25, 2013

Literary Sightseeing: Sherlock Holmes

"A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring out upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe. Vague shapes swirled and swam amid the dark cloud-bank, each a menace and a warning of something coming, the advent of some unspeakable dweller upon the threshold, whose very shadow would blast my soul." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot"


Though Benedict Cumberbatch is running a close second, and Martin Freeman is by far my Watson, Jeremy Brett is my Sherlock just as David Tennant is my Doctor.

Whoever plays the role on screen, it's the wit and oddness of Holmes that I find highly entertaining, which led me to visit the somewhat cheesy but charming Sherlock Holmes Museum on a trip to London last year. The first floor is set up like Holmes and Watson are living there and have just gone out on a case. The rest of the rooms are set up to depict key scenes from some of the adventures. When I was there, the tour was self-guided, but people in period dress were around to guard the stuff and answer any questions. On the ground floor next to the museum entrance is a gift shop with everything a good tourist could want.

So though I was jet lagged and, unbeknownst to me, on the verge of serious illness, I put on my boots, forced myself out into the gray cold of a March morning, and made my way to Baker Street. Here are some of the resulting pictures.

An obvious clue you're on the right track outside the Baker Street tube stop

Door to the museum

Entrance to the shop

Official English Heritage blue plaque

A warm study on the first floor filled with Holmes and Watson memorabilia

Holmes' chemistry stuff

A memorable image from "The Musgrave Ritual"

Holmes' the fire is probably not the best place...

From "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Should have the official title: Mrs Hudson the Long-suffering

The bad guy getting it in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"

From "A Scandal in Bohemia"

The man himself

A man copying the encyclopedia, from "The Red-Headed League"

Professor Moriarty

Fan mail

Gift shop goods

My souvenir


"To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Scandal in Bohemia"

"Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"

"And now, Doctor, we've done our work, so it's time we had some play. A sandwich and a cup of coffee, and then off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony, and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Red-Headed League"

"'Yes,' said I, 'I have taken to living by my wits.'" Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Musgrave Ritual"

"I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain," he remarked. "If my record were closed to-night I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Final Problem"

"Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill."Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Hound of the Baskervilles"