Plea to turn Royal Marines Museum into Sherlock Holmes exhibit

The Royal Marines Museum in Eastney
The Royal Marines Museum in Eastney
From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

Hopes remain £900m deal is not dead – as emails reveal disagreements

  • Lib Dems clamour for council to explore purchasing Eastney attraction
  • Museum to close down this Saturday ahead of move to Historic Dockyard
  • Council looking to build Sherlock Holmes exhibit in Southsea
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A PLEA has been issued to secure the future of the Royal Marines Museum site – by turning it into a Sherlock Holmes Museum.

The Eastney attraction will close its doors to visitors on Saturday and Liberal Democrat councillors say it could be the perfect spot for the proposed tourist destination to house the city’s massive Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection.

Some of the Sherlock Holmes exhibits currently in the City Museum

Some of the Sherlock Holmes exhibits currently in the City Museum

Councillors made the call during a full council meeting where it was suggested that the local authority purchase the site and explore the idea.

The idea was touted by Councillor Lee Hunt who said: ‘This is a council that is spending millions on warehouses and Waitroses. If they can do that as an administration, why on earth can’t we at least consider buying up the museum to stop it going over for more houses.

‘Turn it into a Sherlock Holmes museum. It’s purpose-made from that era and will attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to our city.

‘Why can’t we consider to do that instead of letting everything go to flats and houses. This can be done.’

This is a council that is spending millions on warehouses and Waitrose’s. If they can do that as an administration, why on earth can’t we at least consider buying up the museum to stop it going over for more houses

Councillor Lee Hunt (Lib Dem)

Bosses at the museum recently confirmed the site on Eastney Esplanade was to close and reopen in a new home at the Action Stations building in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard from 2020.

The News previously revealed that the council is looking to build a ‘tourist experience’ dedicated to the tales of the super-sleuth on land around the former Seafront Services Office on Avenue de Caen in Southsea.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Lib Dems’ group leader said: ‘Is it not worth this council looking at buying this museum to stop it being developed? I hope a feasibility study will be conducted into this to stop it falling to disrepair.’

Lib Dem councillor Hugh Mason added: ‘This city lives on tourism. It’s one of its main industries. The closing down of the museum will have an impact on our tourism. If it is possible, it would make a very good Sherlock Holmes museum for the city. I would urge the administration to examine what we can do.’

The group called for Councillor Luke Stubbs (Cons), the deputy council leader and ward member for Eastney, to explore the idea.

Cllr Stubbs would not be drawn on the idea of the council purchasing the site but said: ‘I share the concerns about what might happen with the building. It’s a difficult building to convert and doesn’t lend itself to any other purpose.

‘I would like to have reassurances as there is a risk that when it moves out, there will be a worry about the care such a fine building will receive.’