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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 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 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 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 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.

It was also at this venue where Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in “The Noble Batchelors”. Old Scotland Yard is just across the other side of Northumberland Avenue, and the Turkish baths that Holmes and Watson used to enjoy were right beside the Hotel. It is still possible in fact to see the entrance, which now forms part of the wall of the bank in Craven Passage. With Charing Cross Station immediately beside the pub, one can just imagine the duo dashing off to catch a train into the countryside on one of their hair raising adventures!