Sleuthing in London

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I’ve spent an enjoyable day, firstly at the Museum of London’s Sherlock Holmes exhibition, and then at a lunchtime lecture at the Society of Genealogists, situated very conveniently just down the road from the museum.

The Sherlock Holmes exhibition was full of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original manuscripts in impeccable handwriting (although apparently he bought a Remington typewriter in the 1890s) and wonderful illustrations of Holmes and his right hand man, Dr Watson, by Sidney Paget.  There was also an intriguing section featuring all Holme’s favourite objects, including deerstalker hats, pipes, and tobacco stored in a Persian slipper, with the opportunity to buy all these items (minus the slipper) in the shop afterwards.  I was tempted by a deerstalker, but was persuaded that it didn’t really suit me. Interestingly, Conan Doyle never described Holmes as wearing such an item, and the tradition grew up in Paget’s drawings, mainly because Paget deemed this kind of hunting attire suitable for a sleuth.

Then it was along to the Society of Genealogists to discover how to trace my own relatives who may have a criminal record.   However, just at the moment, I’m not aware of any beyond the elderly lady I wrote about the other day.  Perhaps Julie will suddenly discover that there is an urgent need to delve into the murky depths of her family’s past!

One final observation: architecturally both the Museum of London and the Society of Genealogists have got to be two of the most unprepossessing buildings in London.  It’s what lies behind the dour concrete and brick exteriors which makes them interesting.

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