Sherlock Holmes Discovered at Portsmouth Museum

Sherlock Holmes was created in Portsmouth, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first book while living in the city, but unfortunately he wasn't a real person.

Portsmouth is also home to the world's largest public collection of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes artefacts. Some are on display at Portsmouth Museum and the rest can be accessed by contacting Portsmouth History Centre.

Hope you enjoyed the joke, but for anyone who is disappointed hopefully this new video about Conan Doyle's life in Portsmouth will make it up to them.

You can see our original April fool story below.


Museum experts in Portsmouth have found evidence Sherlock Holmes is not a literary creation but in fact a real detective from the city.

Theories that Conan Doyle's tales were based on reality are ever-present, but now archivists have discovered documents including part of a birth certificate which proves Holmes existence.

Along with a newspaper clipping announcing the birth it is one of a number of documents related to an Ernest William Sherlock Holmes who was born in the Portsea area of Portsmouth in 1854.
Records also show he was briefly employed to work at Fratton Police Station in the city and played third violin for the Portsmouth Light Symphony Society.

The shock discovery was made by staff working on the Arthur Conan Doyle Lancelyn Green Bequest which saw 40,000 artefacts donated to Portsmouth City Council. The sheer number of documents involved means many have not been properly examined by historians until now.

This newly discovered Holmes would have been in his early 30s when Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet, the first novel starring his detective creation, and experts believe the two could have crossed paths while the author was working as a doctor in the city.

Prof Lydia Olsa, Portsmouth Museums' director of historical studies, said: "We found a few different documents that seemed like coincidences but these latest discoveries pulls everything together. It's an amazing find and changes the way we think about the world's greatest detective.

"This Mr Holmes appears to have been overlooked previously because Sherlock was a middle name. From what we can see he was somewhat of a maverick and so his police career was fairly short-lived."

"Once we have examined all the evidence I'm sure it will be elementary."

Check back here later in the day as we reveal some of the artefacts relating to this fascinating discovery.

2 Comments

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  1. Hotspur
    Very clever video. Thanks!
  2. nalawahs
    Hilarious and informative,excellent video by the way...

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