For those of us who find it hard to tell fact from fiction this is a wonderful evocation of a favourite character. Oddly, this is probably the second most well known English address (after 10 Downing Street). Spoiler alert, the museum is actually between 237 and 241 Baker Street but has received special permission from the City of Westminster to use the '221b' address. The Georgian town house was formerly used as a boarding house from 1860 to 1936, and covers the period of 1881 to 1904 when Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were reported to have resided there as tenants of Mrs Hudson. The address 221B was the subject of a protracted dispute between the museum and the nearby Abbey National building. Since the 1930s, the Royal Mail had been delivering mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes to the Abbey National Bank, and they had employed a special secretary to deal with such correspondence. The museum went through several appeals for such mail to be delivered to it, on the grounds that it was the most appropriate organisation to respond to the mail, rather than the bank whose primary business was to lend money out on interest. Although these initiatives were all unsuccessful, the issue was finally resolved in 2002 when the Abbey National vacated its headquarters after seventy years, and the mail is currently delivered to the museum.
The museum is basically a reconstruction of the house as it was in Holmes' time, including many artefacts pertinent to his cases. There is the bathroom, Sherlock Holmes room, Dr. Watsons room, the study, the sitting room and the laboratory. The building is governemnt listed as being of historical interest. This is not an accessible venue for many people. This is an old town house, with the associated access problems. There are 17 steps up from the ground floor to the first floor, then another 18 steps up to the second floor, then another 16 steps up to the third floor then another five steps up to a small bathroom. The shop on the ground floor is, however, accessible and spacious. Guide dogs are welcome and can remain with their owner.
Location : 221B Baker Street, Westminster NW1 6XE
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday 09:30 to 18:00.
Tickets : Adults £15.00. Children £10.00
Tel: 020 7224 3688