There has been a running theme with trying to see some of these places in London. The first time we went to The Sherlock Museum, the line on a Saturday was incredibly long. It had to have about fifty people waiting. So, instead, Jeff and I walked through Regent’s Park which was right next door.
The second time I went over there, I was by myself in the middle of the week. The line was still outrageous with another fifty waiting for their chance to walk through Sherlock Holmes’ house! This time, though, I approached the costumed “bobby” or policeman and asked when was the best time to give this place a go. He said, right when they open is when the line is the most manageable.
So with that note in mind, I made a plan to see this place right when it opened. But then of course, as I mentioned before, I finally got a job. My last chance to check this place out was on a Friday before the next work week. I got up with my husband that morning, and made going to this museum my morning job. What a life, huh?
I made it to the Baker Street tube station and then subtly noticed all signs pointing to the museum: Sherlock Holmes’ stories written on the tube station walls, a bumper sticker behind a street sign with 221B and a finger pointing right, and other little clues that lead you all to…another long line. I couldn’t believe it! It was just after they opened, on a Friday morning, and there was still a line of twenty people waiting to get in.
Since I had nowhere to be, I brought out my book and started to read in the blue sunshine. It was only after the accumulation of another twenty people behind me did someone say you need to buy your tickets first, and then stand in line. So, I asked the very nice woman in front of me if she wouldn’t mind holding my space as I ran inside.
The little shop was full of Sherlock paraphernalia. But I will note, that most of it, like maybe 99% (I leave the 1% for my less than keen observation skills) were relating to the older versions of Mr. Holmes. There wasn’t a single sign of Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch or Mr. Martin Freeman. I wonder if it was due to copyright or something, but it was surprising as it would, I’m sure, be quite profitable. (To be honest, that’s the main reason I went–was for Benedict, not so much the nineteenth century style of the novel.)
After chatting with the woman who held my spot, a kind woman visiting her daughter from Australia, she was ushered in, and I was told to wait. There was a maximum capacity of five people at a time. No wonder the line was long and took an eternity to get through.
So, in my continued quest for breaking down my comfort zones of being an introvert, I decided I would chat with the bobby. He was a very nice man who had just began the position a week prior. He was enjoying it so far, but the idea of how many blogs and Facebook statuses he was on, made him uncomfortable.
As I waited, the rain came. Just like home–blue skies and downpour. I waited nonetheless with no cover until he finally let me come in the tiny house.
I did find out that the place is actually protected by the government due to its “special architectural and historical interest,” but I wish I could say it really was a “hidden gem,” and was totally worth the three attempts at coming down and my £10.00. However, it left a little to be desired.
They gave you a small pamphlet to tell you who each figurine is (which I had no idea what figurines they were talking about until the third floor), but there was no information or real education with the space. It was just a fictional layout of what Sherlock Holmes’ apartment or flat would have looked like over a hundred years ago.
I tried to mask my disappointment as I made my way through the space big enough for only two residents (max), and saw every corner. It was a complete tourist trap. People were posing with the infamous hat and snapping photos of Dr. John Watson’s library, but there was nothing to tell me what each thing was or what part in played in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
I did ask one of the dressed up docent’s what the pamphlet meant, and she said all the figurines were on the third floor. I thought I would encounter paintings or actual information, but instead, I got something terrifying.
Life-size mannequins of characters in the Sherlock Holmes saga. I nearly jumped out of my skin to see six crammed in one tiny room, and then another six in the second. They were positioned in their rightful costume and in a pose that made them the most memorable to each story. Ms. Irene Adler with her incriminating photographs, the Red-Haired Banker, and Mr. Moriarty himself as a 70 year old –nothing like the new, dashing Moriarty played by Andrew Scott.
After seeing the figurines, that was it. It was three floors of tiny space crammed with tourists and junk. I was disappointed that I had made a point to see this place, but then again, it would have haunted me that it was the one location I wanted to see before entering the working world with no time to play during the week.
I thanked the nice bobby and headed on my way, running past the World’s Largest Beatles Store, which I thought was a little odd considering how far away we were from Abbey Road. But conveniently, at that same time, I got an email notification that tickets for Richard III staring Martin Freeman were now on sale. We are confirmed for July 5!