Original Sherlock Holmes manuscript unveiled as ‘crown’ in city collection

From left to right: Amy Carter, 34, Matt Paffett, 43, Pernilla Berglund, 42, Latin Smith, 33. Photo: Holly Sayer-Gray

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  • Original Sherlock Holmes manuscript unveiled to fans
  • Set to published as part of new volume of tales
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A HANDWRITTEN Sherlock Holmes manuscript has been unveiled as a new addition to the city’s world-class collection.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original words for the short story The Adventure of the Creeping Man were unveiled to Sherlockians at Portsmouth City Museum last night.

Professor Neil McCaw with the handwritten manuscript

Professor Neil McCaw with the handwritten manuscript

They will be part of the city’s 60,000-item Conan Doyle collection and will be made publicly available for the first time in a new volume of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Winchester University Press.

Professor Neil McCaw, who teaches on Victorian literature and culture at the University of Winchester, declared the manuscript as ‘the crown in the city’s collection’.

He said: ‘This is a real treasure of a find as there are only around 30 original Conan Doyle manuscripts out there across the world.’

Professor McCaw said that each of the manuscripts could be sold for more than £1m and that to have one here in Portsmouth was ‘priceless’.

It really is the crown in the city’s collection. When you see the little notes and amendments that Conan Doyle made, it truly is amazing to look at. It shows evidence that there was a human being sat refining this wonderful tale

Professor Neil McCaw

He said: ‘It really is the crown in the city’s collection. When you see the little notes and amendments that Conan Doyle made, it truly is amazing to look at. It shows evidence that there was a human being sat refining this wonderful tale.’

The story itself – which Conan Doyle wrote around the age of 60 – is Holmes’ last official case as a consulting detective before his retirement.

It sees him tackle the case of the eccentric behaviour of scholar Professor Presbury.

Councillor Linda Symes, the city’s culture boss, praised the manuscript as ‘fantastic’.

She also revealed that design work ahead of a planning application was underway for the proposed new Sherlock Holmes tourist attraction on land in Avenue Du Caen in Southsea.

The building would house the city’s collection dedicated to Conan Doyle – who created Holmes while living in Southsea.

Cllr Symes said: ‘We are working on the designs with a view to submitting a planning application soon.’