Finding Doctor Watson

I am a Sherlock Holmes fan, and consequently anything Sherlockian would be of interest. I first read the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle many years ago, and once they were finished read many of the pastiches that were available. To be frank many of them were much better than the original works. I was not a fan of the movies although did enjoy some of the radio shows.  

In the short month that I was in London I did go to the Sherlock Holmes Museum in 221b Baker Street, and was quite disappointed in it.

The odd moment really happened when I was looking for the museum and ended up peering myopically at distant buildings and asking myself where was the museum. Only to realise that I was standing in front of it! The museum was guarded by a London Bobby who was really there to prevent Professor Moriarty from escaping.  All credit to the guy in uniform, he was awesome. 

The first problem was the crowds of people at the museum. The building is a narrow pokey affair so moving about in it was problematic, especially when trying to use the stairs.  The house had been filled with items and furnishings that would have been recognisable to any Holmes buff.  There were no real 4 pipe problems at hand.

Remember what I said about those stairs?

Scattered around the museum were mannequins illustrating scenes from the books, although I was not all that impressed by them. I did feel that they detracted from the experience. 

That is supposedly Lady Frances Carfax all wrapped up in the coffin. She featured in a short story called: “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax“.   I am not too sure who the dead fellow below is. 

Naturally I would want to see the loo…. and there was one too. Thomas Crapper would be proud.

The museum also had a well filled and crowded shop that I really liked, although my limited budget did not permit me to spend large amounts of money on souvenirs. 

I really liked this teapot but at £35 gave it a miss.

A few years ago one of my friends visited the museum and he encountered a Doctor Watson role-player although when I was there the post was vacant and being advertised. I did not apply as I probably did not look the part of an “English Gentleman”. Why was I disappointed? The museum felt just a bit too “commercial” for me, and of course the crowds did make for some tiresome bottlenecks. But overall it was ok, just not the sort of place I would return to in a hurry. 

And then it was time to go. The game was afoot. The museum was a nice interlude though, and I am glad I made the effort to see it. At the time I thought that this was the end of my “Sherlock Homes Experience” but there was still a discovery awaiting me in the future.

Baker Street Station on The Tube

In May 2013 my landlord in Southampton decided to make a impromptu trip to Salisbury and dragged me along (willingly I might add). We went via Lyndhurst and  small village called Minstead  in the New Forest in Hampshire.  Why Minstead? that is where  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is buried. 

Note the handy village stocks outside the pub. 

We quickly found All Saints’ church and the associated churchyard.  The chancel and nave of the church date from the 13th century while the rest of the building is 18th-century or later.  

I did not take much notice of the interior of the church as we ended up talking to somebody that was working there, consequently the only pics I have are:

and of course the War Memorial in the church.

We were told where to find the grave we were looking for and after a quick look around the churchyard found our goal.

Sir Arthur was originally buried in a vertical position in Crowborough where he lived at Windlesham Manor for the last 23 years of his life. He was reinterred in Minstead by the family of his deceased first wife after the death of the second Lady Conan Doyle. 

And then it was time for us to leave this place and continue onwards to Salisbury. Little did I know that later in the year I would move to Salisbury and live there for a year.  We made a quick pause at the village War Memorial, and I never did find out what was beneath that locked and barred door at the foot of the memorial.

On our way to Minstead we passed through Lyndhurst and there was another interesting grave to be found in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels. You can read about it by following the arrow below.

DRW © 2013 – 2021. Retrospectively created 19/11/2020

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