World class Sherlock Holmes attraction could come to Portsmouth seafront

AMBITIOUS plans are moving forward to bring a multimillion pound Sherlock Holmes attraction to Portsmouth.

Monday, 24th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:22 pm
Michael Gunton, Senior Archivist at Portsmouth Archive Service with a collection of unpublished letter by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Picture: Zachary Culpin/Solent News & Photo Agency UK

A potential site for a world-class museum and interactive learning hub celebrating the life of Arthur Conan Doyle’s character has now been chosen.

Portsmouth Tory culture official Linda Symes says the former Seafront Services Office, at the Avenue De Caen, in Southsea, and four surrounding tennis courts is the preferred location.

And now the council wants to work up bids for cash to bring the long-awaited plans – first suggested by Lib Dems cultural supporters in early 2014 – to life.

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Should millions be clinched for the project, a planning application would then be drawn up. And a private firm could be brought on board to help.

Lib Dem culture spokesman, Cllr Lee Hunt, said: ‘We fully support this and would be delighted to see it happen.

‘It’s very important. Sherlock Holmes is the world’s greatest fictional detective, and that character was invented here in Portsmouth.

‘Countries like Japan, France and America, in all of the big economies, he is so much loved.

‘People would travel all over the world to Portsmouth to see where he was created.

‘Leading a cultural regeneration of Portsmouth would be massive.’

The council says it is striving to create a ‘legendary connection’ between the city and Sherlock Holmes.

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

Cllr Symes, who discussed the plans at the recent East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum, said: ‘We have a lot of naval history and have a focus on that.

‘We already have the D-Day Museum in that area, so introducing a Sherlock Holmes museum would bring a whole range of activities to that area.

‘It would be a big draw. Sherlock Holmes is not just of national interest.

‘Most countries know of who he is. It’s been translated into virtually every language in the world. We would need millions, but we would bring another partnership on board to help deliver the project.’

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.