Dropping in on Sherlock Holmes

London 052

The Sherlock Holmes Pub (Formerly the Northumberland Hotel in The Hound of the Baskervilles)

Roger Johnson, a member of the board of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London wrote a review of Master Detective in The Messenger, the society’s journal. Last year, Barbara and I passed through London on a cruise, and we arranged to meet for lunch at (where else?) the Sherlock Holmes Pub.

The pub is located in the old Northumberland Hotel, across from the old Scotland Yard and the scene of the early part of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Upstairs is a Victorian restaurant that is a shrine to the great detective. The big attraction here is the recreated sitting room at 221B Baker Street. The glassed off room on the second floor is crammed with artifacts from the cases in the Sherlock Holmes stories.

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Roger Johnson, Jean Johnson, Barbara Reisinger, John Reisinger with the Sherlock Holmes sitting room in the background

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After lunch, Roger Johnson ushered us into Holmes’s inner sanctum, filled with artifacts of his cases. The figure on the right is the dummy Holmes set up to draw fire from Col Sebastian Moran in The Adventure of the Empty House.

Roger Johnson and his wife Jean are also the curators of the room and among the very few who have keys to it. After we ate, he allowed us into the room to look at the artifacts and discuss them. Everything was authentically Victorian as they could make it (except for the bullet holes in the wall; they were done with an electric drill.) They even had a gasogene (a sort of glass globe affair that carbonates water) and a tantalus (a lockable frame for securing liquor bottles. Keeps the butler from raiding the sherry.)

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Roger Johnson pointing out some of the finer points of the tantalus.

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Barbara stayed close to the door in case Mrs.Hudson showed up. (Note the bullet holes in the upper left spelling out VR. They were actually done with a drill.)

Only one item has ever vanished from the room; a pair of antique boxing gloves,of all things. Somehow Holmes has not been able to crack the case. Deep waters indeed, eh, Watson?

Thanks again to the Johnsons for a jolly good time!