Ambitious scheme to bring Holmes’ legacy to life in Portsmouth

AUTHOR Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
AUTHOR Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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WE’RE the birthplace of one of the most popular fictional detectives ever created.

Now plans are being put in place to bring the stories of Sherlock Holmes to life.

Portsmouth is being earmarked for a world-class visitor attraction celebrating the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character.

The multimedia experience could include holograms of characters, and re-enactments of plots and Holmes’ life at his home in 221B Baker Street, London.

And it’s more than just a pipe dream – a private company has been commissioned by Portsmouth City Council to produce a report into the commercial benefits and whether there is enough demand for the attraction.

It’s expected to go forward to a private consultation at the end of next month.

City councillor Lee Hunt, who is in charge of culture, media and sport, said: ‘It’s going to be massive for the city.

‘Sherlock Holmes is the world’s greatest fictional detective. Everybody knows him and there is huge interest. Visitors will come from America, Japan, Canada – we have got so many amazing artefacts in our collection.’

Steve Pitt, of Portsmouth Cultural Partnership, which came up with the idea, said: ‘What we are talking about is a world-class Sherlock Holmes experience.

‘It would be interactive and high quality. What we’re really interested in is getting the people of Portsmouth behind the idea.

‘There are so many tie-ins around the legacy of Sherlock being “born” in Portsmouth. That’s something that when we look at it, has the potential to create a massive number of jobs.

‘There are 6.9m people who search for Sherlock Homes and Conan Doyle on Google every month. There is a massive market for this.’

Mr Pitt said the project could cost about £25m, and that the private sector would be called upon to help.

Similar plans have been mooted before but have never got off the ground.

Resources would be used from The Arthur Conan Doyle collection, the largest of its kind in the world, which is based in Portsmouth. Some is on display and some is in storage.

A huge part of it is made up of thousands of items gathered as part of the The Richard Lancelyn Green bequest, left by Mr Green when he died in 2004.

The attraction is just one of the ways the collection could be shown off in the city.

Sir Arthur wrote his first books about Holmes while working at his medical practice in Elm Grove Southsea, after coming to Portsmouth in 1882.