Retrace Arthur Conan Doyle’s footsteps in Portsmouth as Sherlock comes to town

THE world’s most famous detective is returning to Portsmouth – the home of his much-adored writer.

Now, a trail throughout the city will give people the chance to retrace the steps of Arthur Conan Doyle, the man behind the Sherlock Holmes novels.

St Jude's Church in Southsea. Picture: Steve Reid

St Jude's Church in Southsea. Picture: Steve Reid

The trail has been set up by New Theatre Royal ahead of its new theatrical performance, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four – which will be performed in the city from November 15-17.

Conan Doyle’s second Holmes tale, the show is being brought to life by Blackeyed Theatre, in association with New Theatre Royal and South Hill Park.

The route takes people through the streets of Old Portsmouth, up through Southsea and along to the Portsmouth Museum, which contains a treasure chest of Sherlock memorabilia.

Clarence Pier

Clarence Pier pre-1936. Picture: Robert James collection

Clarence Pier pre-1936. Picture: Robert James collection

For those interested in retracing Conan Doyle’s steps, their journey will begin just 20 minutes’ walk from the theatre, at Clarence Pier.

The pier is where Arthur Conan Doyle’s coastal steamer would have arrived in Portsmouth in 1882 – and where he would take his first steps into the city, with no plans and just £10 to his name.

St Jude’s Church

After taking in the fresh sea air, your next stop should be St Jude’s Church in Kent Road.

A Portsmouth trail documenting the life of Arthur Conan Doyle has been set up by New Theatre Royal, ahead of the latest theatrical performance later this month. Picture: Supplied

A Portsmouth trail documenting the life of Arthur Conan Doyle has been set up by New Theatre Royal, ahead of the latest theatrical performance later this month. Picture: Supplied

Conan Doyle may have owned a medical practice, been a rationalist and hesitant to buy into organised religion, but he was also fascinated with the possible existence of ghosts – and often took part in debates with members of the church congregation.

Elm Grove

Just a short walk from St Jude’s Church, Elm Grove is often referred to as the place where Sherlock Holmes was born.

The original building that Arthur Conan Doyle called home was destroyed in the Blitz – but a blue plaque along the street recognises the site where he penned his first Sherlock Holmes tale, A Study in Scarlet.

Portsmouth Museum

The final stop of the Arthur Conan Doyle trail is also the most important for Sherlock Holmes fans.

Portsmouth City Museum in Museum Road, is a Pandora’s Box for lovers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, with two galleries across the whole of the ground floor showcasing their incredible collection of photographs, books and other artefacts chronicling the life of Arthur Conan Doyle and the creation of Sherlock Holmes.

To book tickets to The Sign of Four at New Theatre Royal, people can go to newtheatreroyal.com.