221b Baker Street, London is an address every true Sherlock Holmes fan knows. According to Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories the world famous consulting detective lived here between 1881 – 1904. And that’s where the museum dedicated to him is situated nowadays. It was opened in 1990 and is one of the city’s tourist attraction.
From the outside the building looks ordinary but the moment you cross the threshold you are in a Victorian household. There is a sash window and an open fireplace in every room. The lightning is provided by candles and beautiful Victorian lamps. There are carpets and rugs on the floor and flowery wallpapers on the walls.
From a small and narrow hall the steps lead straight up to the study on the first floor. It looks exactly as described by the author. Each space of the room is taken by various ornaments and the detective’s personal items. You can find a Persian slipper filled with tobacco and a stack of letters attached to the mantelpiece with a knife. There are two comfortable armchairs in front of the fireplace and you can sit down and have your picture taken.
Holmes’s bedroom is conveniently situated next to the study. There is a cast iron bed, a small table at the window, a dressing table and a wooden filing cabinet. The walls are dark green and mostly covered by pictures of some Victorian gents.
Watson’s room is located on the second floor and overlooks a small courtyard. At first glance, it’s hard to tell it is a doctor’s room because there aren’t many medical instruments lying around. It is kept clean and well organized – a significant thing for a man of a military past.
Mrs Hudson’s room is also situated on the second floor but at the front of the house. Here you can find various memorabilia from the detective’s adventures: a bust of Napoleon from The adventure of the six Napoleons, two severed human ears from The adventure of the Cardboard Box, Lucy Hebron’s mask and gloves from The Adventure of the Yellow Face, a voodoo fetish from The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge and many more.
There is a selection of letters written to and from Mr. Holmes on display. You can also find a head of a huge black dog on the wall and a glass display box with the most famous scene from The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sherlock Holmes killing the beast himself.
The third floor houses a real surprise for Holmes enthusiasts – an exhibition of wax figures from the stories:
The last thing to see is a bathroom in the attic with a white and blue flashing toilet and a basin – a perfect example of Victorian era sanitary equipment.
I went from one room to the other utterly immersed in Victorian era and completely lost to the present times. I was under the impression that Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend, Doctor John Watson, have just stepped out in pursuit of some crime case and they will be back later to recount the tale to Inspector Lestrade.
The place is so popular with the tourists that sometimes people wait for hours to get inside. But I was lucky – I didn’t have to wait at all. There were only six people in the building at that time, including me. It took me about 30 minutes to feast my eyes on every item in the museum. I also took a photo of a policeman standing at the door – a nice and patient person who is used to all sorts of crazy Sherlock fans.
As a real Sherlock admirer I could not simply omit a shop on the ground floor. Here I found lots of Sherlock Holmes related items: books, mugs, postcards, pens, photos, keyrings, watches etc. There was even a famous deerstalker for die-hard fans. And nothing says better SHERLOCK HOLMES DEVOTEE than a proper headgear.
I got tempted by a wrist watch with Holmes silhouette and Baker Street address on a dial. Now every time I look at my watch I can be reminded of my Baker Street visit to my favourite English detective’s house.
If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan like me, and you come to London, then you must visit Sherlock Holmes Museum. You will find it at 221b Baker Street, where else!