LETTER OF THE DAY: Bristol managed to do it for Brunel so why can’t we do it for Sherlock Holmes?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The team of helpers outside the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, ready to search

Dedicated team of volunteers search for missing rescue dog Freddie in Portsmouth

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It’s good to see that one of Portsmouth’s illustrious sons, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is being honoured as an adopted son by the city of Bristol with a museum in his honour.

‘Being Brunel’ is a £7.2m dream bought to reality with the aid of a 4.78m HLF grant by a city with ambitious leaders intent on improving their city’s cultural image.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Portsmouth’s faded dream of a ‘World Class Sherlock Holmes/Arthur Conan Doyle Attraction’ for its own literary son is ‘still on track’.

However, it would seem that the track it is on is at the buffers in Portsmouth Harbour railway station for all the intent and ambition that is on show from Cllr Donna Jones and her ‘team’.

‘Being Brunel’ proudly claims to have 150 personal artefacts on show to the public yet the public have little chance to see the vast majority of the Richard Lancelyn Green collection of 16,000 books,2,000+ objects and more than 50,000 items of archive material (including an original manuscript) which all relate to Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle.

The museum service manages to maintain a limited display, all within its current budget, but most of this collection is disgracefully locked in storage at a cost to the public purse.

Sherlock Holmes is a massive global brand (much more so than Isambard Kingdom Brunel) and the opportunity to entice visitors from across the continents to experience the Sherlock Holmes Experience has been criminally neglected by the current regime whose latest vision is a crowd-funded tin box on a derelict site in Southsea. How this current administration can be claiming to enhance the cultural experience of Portsmouth while allowing this potential cultural gem to gather dust in a ‘Things to do’ file is beyond belief. It would seem that Southamtopolis is still firmly in the mind of ‘our leader’ and the cultural baton has been handed to Southampton who are looking for tenants for their brand new £30m cultural hub.

‘Thank you very much. This is a treasure trove indeed. I suppose you know what you have got?’

- Sherlock Holmes in The Blue Carbuncle.

Mick Johnson

Edgeware Road, Milton