Being a bit of a Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fan, I have long driven past the entrance to the author’s former home at Hindhead – Undershaw – on the A3 en route to London, desperate to catch a fleeting glimpse. Hidden behind trees, apparently about to be altered forever by developers, it has been a long term irritant NOT to be able to take a sneaky peak.
Braced however by the excellent BBC1 Sherlock series (see Doctor Watson’s blog), by Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes films and Anthony Horowitz’s recent novel, The House of Silk, I have discovered that nearby Portsmouth houses the definitive Sir Arthur Conan Doyle archive and a permanent exhibition dedicated to the enigmatic sleuth.
The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Collection was bequeathed to the City of Portsmouth by Richard Lancelyn Green, perhaps the leading collector of Conan Doyle memorabilia, bringing together an unparalleled variety of books, documents and objects connected to Holmes and the life of his creator.
The exhibition A Study in Sherlock at Portsmouth City Museum * displays many extraordinary items from the Collection, including unique photographs, film posters, and letters from the influential and the famous. The exhibition features interactive displays and a narration by the Collection’s patron, Stephen Fry.
Sir Arthur actually lived nearby the Museum in Elm Grove (where I also lived for years) and it was here that he plied his trade as a doctor whilst writing his first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet. For a Sherlock enthusiast such as myself, it sends a shiver down your spine.
* Portsmouth City Museum, Museum Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2LJ. Tel: 023 9282 7261. Entrance is free every day Tuesday – Sunday and Bank Holidays. Opening hours are 10 am – 5 pm until end of March and from April – September, 10 am – 5.30 pm.