He laid an envelope upon the table, and we all bent over it. It was of common quality, greyish in colour. The address, “Sir Henry Baskerville, Northumberland Hotel”, was printed in rough characters; the post-mark “Charing Cross”, and the date of posting the preceding evening.

“Who knew that you were going to the Northumberland Hotel?” asked Holmes, glancing keenly across at our visitor.

“No one could have known. We only decided after I met Dr Mortimer.”

“But Dr Mortimer was no doubt already stopping there?”

“No, I had been staying with a friend,” said the doctor.

“There was no possible indication that we intended to go to this hotel.”

“Hum! Someone seems to be very deeply interested in your movements.” Out of the envelope he took a half-sheet of foolscap paper folded into four. This he opened and spread flat upon the table. Across the middle of it a single sentence had been formed by the expedient of pasting printed words upon it. It ran:

As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor. (The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle)

The erstwhile Northumberland Arms is now the The Sherlock Holmes Public House and Restaurant, situated very close to the Old Scotland Yard and the Turkish baths whose illustrious visitors Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were. The history of The

Northumberland Arms underwent a transition in the 1950s. In 1957, Whitbread and Co. purchased an entire exhibition that had been put together for the Festival of Britain, following its return from a world tour.

A permanent home was required for its homecoming to London, and Whitbread’s plan was to open up a themed pub in the centre of the city that would attract enthusiasts from around the world.

The subject of this exhibition was of course, Sherlock Holmes, and it was not only the first, but also the most important collection in the world to be based on the famous detective.

 

The Sherlock Holmes-44

Photograph courtesy The Shelock Holmes Public House and Restaurant

 

The Inn that had been known as The Northumberland Arms, standing on Northumberland Street, soon became The Sherlock Holmes. With the enthusiastic support and help of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s family, the pub was filled throughout with various artefacts and pieces recording the adventures of the Master Detective, including such diverse items as Dr Watson’s old service revolver, original political cartoons and the stuffed and mounted head of none other than the hound of the Baskervilles.

The main attraction however is a replica of Holmes’ and Watson’s sitting room and study, which is full of authentic Victorian items, all of which relate to Sherlock Holmes and his exciting escapades. This room is given pride of place adjacent to the restaurant, where diners are able to view the whole area through a large glass partition, with additional viewing space through windows located in the hallway.

 

The Sherlock Holmes-40

Photograph courtesy The Sherlock Holmes Public House and Restaurant

 

The exhibition items have not changed since they were first installed, and are now complemented by an interesting and nostalgic collection of television and film stills, featuring the famous actors who have played the Great Detective and his trusty sidekick, Watson, down the years.

 

The Sherlock Holmes-40

Photograph courtesy The Sherlock Holmes Public House and Restaurant

 

The Sherlock Holmes Pub and Restaurant is on the site of the Victorian “Northumberland Hotel” — a venue familiar to all Holmes enthusiasts, as it was here that Sir Henry Baskerville stayed on his visits to London, and where he met Holmes and Watson in The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was also at this venue where Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in “The Noble Bachelors.” It is still possible in fact to see the entrance, which now forms part of the wall in “Craven Passage.” With Charing Cross Station immediately beside the pub, one can simply vicariously unfold a palimpsest of the duo dashing off to catch a train into the countryside on one of their hair raising adventures!

 

The above article is produced with permission from The Sherlock Holmes Public House and Restaurant.

 

Arup K Chatterjee

Arup K Chatterjee

Arup K Chatterjee is a recipient of the Charles Wallace fellowship, 2014-15, to UK. He received his PhD from the Center for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is the author of The Purveyors of Destiny: A Cultural Biography of the Indian Railways (Bloomsbury, 2017), apart from numerous other prose or poetic works and opinion articles published worldwide. He is Assistant Professor of English at the Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, and the founding chief-editor of Coldnoon.

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