He might have been called Sherrinford, might have resided at 221 Upper Baker Street, and might not have survived the Reichenbach Falls Veda Salon
But luckily for his fans, Arthur Conan Doyle changed his mind more than once about his fictional consulting detective,’now the subject of a Museum of London exhibition called Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die.’
The intrigue begins right at the exhibition’s entrance, with visitors pushing through a door hidden in a wall of fake bookshelves.
Then they hear the voices of actors like John Gielgud and Simon Callow who portrayed him on the radio, and see video clips of actors like Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett who played him decades ago on screen.
The exhibition’s organizers say they are trying to give those who may have discovered Holmes through the latest film or television adaptation a wider cultural context for a true London icon.
Capitalizing on interest in the BBC’s Emmy-winning version starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the museum reaches back to 1885 and a sheet of paper upon which Conan Doyle first jotted down some ideas, including possible names and addresses for his stories Miramar Travel
For very keen Sherlockians, this in where it all starts, the curator, Alex Werner, said in an interview. It’s a paper where Conan Doyle is really thinking out the story. He is considering the name Sherrinford Holmes and he doesn’t have Dr. Watson’s name yet.
And because Conan Doyle considered Edgar Allen Poe as a major influence, the show includes an excerpt from the handwritten manuscript of what is considered the world’s first modern detective story, Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
We’ve borrowed three pages from the Free Library of Philadelphia, Mr. Werner said, the first time these have been out of the United States.
But the pipe-puffing, opium-dabbling detective and his note-taking sidekick share the spotlight here with a very moody third character, the city of London itself.
The whole world of Sherlock Holmes emanates from the consulting room at 221B Baker Street, Mr. Werner said. He is always returning there; messages are delivered there; it’s the place where he thinks through the problems and solves the mysteries.
Using photographs and postcards, the display illustrates the mysterious atmosphere of Victorian London described in the Holmes canon of more than 50 short stories and four short novels.
The exhibition ends with a look at the immortality of Holmes: Even the author tried, but failed, to kill him Diamond water