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The Exhibition is Afoot, My Dear Sherlockians!

The chilly drizzle had dampened the long, charcoal hair of this teenage Brazilian tourist but certainly not her spirit. She walked through the front doors of the Museum of London and eagerly descended the stairs with a ticket in her hand. Her excitement only came to a halt when she was greeted by a wall of what appeared to be Victorian bookshelves. Perplexed, she glanced around at the otherwise contemporary building and then took a step forward, hesitantly prodding the books until she realized that there was a hidden door behind it. She walked through and entered a narrow dimly lit corridor, her eyes falling on the name of the man she had braved the cold weather and the rush-hour London Tube for: Sherlock Holmes.

 

Cecilia Maria has enjoyed touring around London and seeing all the sights but when she found out that there was an exhibition featuring one of her most favorite fictional characters, she knew she had to go see it.

“I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes,” she said, “My mum is a teacher so I grew up with a lot of books around me. I’ve been reading Sherlock stories since I was a little child and after I watched the movies with Robert Downey Jr. and the BBC Sherlock, my love for Sherlock rose to greater heights!”

‘Sherlock Holmes: The man who never lived and will never die’ celebrates one of the most popular fictional characters around the globe. It is the largest Sherlock Holmes exhibition held in the UK in the last 60 years and is on till 12 April 2015 at the Museum of London.

“This exhibition is about gaining a deeper appreciation of the stories and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such a diverse collection of Sherlock Holmes artefacts and material under one roof,” Alex Werner, Head of History Collections at the Museum of London, said.

The main exhibits include Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘A study in Scarlet’ notebook that contains the first ever lines of a Sherlock Holmes story, a painting of the Reichenbach Falls by J.M.W Turner, Joseph Pennell prints of London, the Belstaff coat worn by Benedict Cumberbatch for BBC Sherlock, Pont de Londres by Claude Monet and illustrations by Sidney Paget.

“It [the exhibition] is very interesting,” Abby Tullett, student at Oxford Brookes University and Sherlock Holmes fan, said, “I liked seeing the props used in BBC’s Sherlock and also by the other actors who played him. To me, Holmes is a brilliant character and I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s interpretation of him. That is where my fandom sort of comes from.”

 

Exhibits from BBC Sherlock were certainly popular among the visitors, especially the females. A teenaged girl gushed over the Derek Rose dressing gown worn by Cumberbatch. A young mother inspected the ‘Wall of Rats’ set featured in the episode The Empty Hearse. Even her baby girl, who lay in the pram sucking on a pacifier, seemed to be transfixed with a clip of Cumberbatch and his co-star Martin Freeman that came on one of the screens!

“I really like the modern adaptations [of Sherlock Holmes],” Ashley Ackerman, a visitor at the museum, said, “I think they have made Sherlock Holmes more prevalent to the younger generation.  We all love the mystery. Once you get in, there’s layers and layers of history there. Sherlock Holmes is a story that embodies the British culture.”

Arthur Conan Doyle used his captivating words to bring Sherlock Holmes to life in 1886. Doyle had no idea that the character would be received so dramatically by the public. While Doyle thought that Holmes kept him away from more serious writing, the public loved the detective, reading the stories with great enthusiasm.

 

“I studied English Literature during my undergraduate years and I was able to academically approach the Sherlock Holmes series. I realized that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did a great job in depicting the atmosphere of a particular era, which adds realistic sense [to the story] and creates suspense.” Youngjoo Lee, 25, student at the London School of Economics, said.

Claiming to be the world’s first consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes is a man (albeit fictional) with an ability to deduce everything about his surroundings that most people miss. A man so clever that he found the entire criminal classes of London not interesting enough to keep him distracted. A man whose famous deerstalker hat, violin, ‘7% solution of cocaine’ and adventures throughout London alongside Dr. John Watson have kept him alive to this day, over 125 years after he was first published.

“Holmes’ personality makes him very interesting. He is smart, rude, funny and incredible in so many different aspects.” Cecilia Maria said on her way out, seeming very content with her experience at the exhibition. “I liked it [the exhibition] very much. It had stuff from the movies and TV shows and written stories. It was a very complete experience.”

 

The exhibition is until the 12th of April so…What are you waiting for?

Don’t miss out!

 

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Neha Rassal

City London

Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Neha Rassal has been involved with several social welfare organisations in her country. She has lived in Bahrain and Canada for a few years and is currently studying Journalism at City University London. 
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