Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I hate to admit this, but the last time I was in London, I went way out of my way to visit Baker Street in the hope of seeing 221B, the home of Sherlock Holmes. Of course I knew that Holmes was a fictional character. I mean, I'm not stupid... I didn't really expect to see him... no, I just thought I'd hang out around there just in case I might get a chance to see him. Please don't try to reason that out. I feel bad enough.

I met a lot of other like-minded people and we all ended up in the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which had a facsimile living room, reconstructed from the information in the books.

I expected to see clutter (that's an average living room of the period above) because that was the fashion in Edwardian England. Someone said that the interior design of that time was meant to trap any dust particle that found its way inside, and prevent it from ever finding it's way outside.

What I didn't expect was the extreme clutter that poor Sherlock had to put up with. No wonder he looks so waxy. You'd look that way too if you had to sit in near darkness all day long, unable to take more than two steps in a straight line. Even with a full time cleaning lady, this was apparently the best he could do.

Here's (above) Sherlock's chemistry corner. The poor guy had to sit on his violin in order to use it.

The chair is ripped. Is that significant? Did one of the stories mention a ripped chair? Geez, poor, poor Sherlock! I feel like passing around a collection plate for him.

Lot's of people leave the museum with the resolve to make their own home as cluttered and interesting as Holmes'. Here's (above) one effort in that direction. I kinda like it. Note the
Buster Keaton death mask on the wall.


Jenny Lerew said...

Don't feel bad. I went to Baker St on my first visit to London, with my pen friend Yvonne who lived in Wolverhampton. Course I was 17. Anyway, Baker St...too bad it's so modern and ugly. At least Mdme Tussaud's is nearby...isn't it?
Those pictures look like the Sherlock Holmes Pub & Restaurant, which had a recreation of 221b Baker St upstairs. I went there once-not first trip nor last--and it was fun but what a tourist trap. And the food was awful. Well--tourist trap. Food in the UK is so much better now, really excellent.

What would life be without artful clutter? I know Frank Lloyd Wright would despise me but it's the only way I can live.

Niki said...

I actually wanted my house to be like this, with evidence of all my travels.

lastangelman said...

In 1983, I used to live in an apartment up the street across Marylbone. On my way to the McDonald's it never ceased to amaze me how many tourists would be craning their necks looking for 221B as if it actually existed (it does now, as Sherlock Holmes Museum). There was a great pub up the street, it may have been called The World (not to be confused with The World's End in Camden).

thomas said...

Edwardian clutter may have something to do with English sense of eccentricity.
All the rain drives them inward.

The clutter's a distraction from the crappy weather.

Do you know about Sir John Soane's house (museum) in London? Not exactly cluttered, but eccentric.

Lester Hunt said...

Wow, guys. The first time I went to London, the last time I went to London, the umpteenth time I went to London .... I've never been there at all, except passing through to get to Cambridge. And now that the Second Great Depression has struck, I guess I never will be able to go. Sigh. ... Anyway, trying to visit the home of a non-existent person makes sense to me, somehow. On the other hand, I don't suppose that speaks well for my sanity.

Chip Butty said...

I've been to this place, it's neat!

I like the controlled clutter of that person's apartment. Gives the impression you've been all over the world and can scarcely store all the treasures you've gathered.

It has to be well arranged and of sophisticated interest, though, or you're just an average disorganized person with dumb memorabilia all over the place.

Jenny Lerew said...

"...or you're just an average disorganized person with dumb memorabilia all over the place."

That would be me.

Kali Fontecchio said...

These are great- thanks!

Deniseletter said...

I feel your description"unable to take more than two steps in a straight line",fits so well when I'm in my tiny cluttered room too.The 1968 BBC's Sherlock Holmes room is not too much cluttered as your pics, but however it is in the mood.There's Watson in it.Did you ever see it on tv? The link:

Sherlock Holmes BBC's Room