Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective
Sherlock Holmes had all the qualities of a professional sleuth: observation, deduction, and knowledge,
and he was one of the first detectives to use all three. I have been a devoted fan of his since I read my
first Holmes mystery, written by Sir Arthur Conon Doyle. Sherlock appeared in more than sixty short stories
and novels over a forty-year period
This building is my interpretation of his flat on the second floor at 221B Baker Street, London.
Most of the objects in the rooms are mentioned in his stories and novels.
221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes rents his flat on the second floor from Mrs. Martha Hudson, who lives on the ground floor. His steadfast friend and chronicler, Dr. John Watson, keeps a room on the top floor.
221B Baker Street, lights on
Sherlock’s suite of rooms, on the second story, overlooks the street below.
There is a tobacco and news shop in the corner of the building, which Sherlock frequents. A London bobby stands guard on the street, perhaps protecting Sherlock, or to observe the range of characters coming in out of his place. Sherlock often worked with Scotland Yard.
A maid is scrubbing the tile entrance to 221B.
Second floor stairway and entry door to Sherlock’s flat. He used the stairway to store his overflow of newspapers and books.
Mrs. Martha Hudson, Sherlock’s long-suffering landlady, waiting for Sherlock to answer her knock on his door. She is holding a letter for him. Mrs. Hudson is quite fond of her renter, even though he fires bullets into the wall, conducts noxious chemical experiments, and requires her to answer her door to all types of strangers, not to mention his violin playing, and occasional drug use, which was considered medicinal in Victorian times and was legal.
Overview of Sherlock’s front room.
The right side of the flat with a buffet and liquor, and Sherlock’s desk in the corner. He kept all kinds of information on criminals, and everyone else who interested him, in binders and scrapbooks. There is a print of the queen, a portrait of Charles Darwin, and a black and white print of Reichenbach Falls above the buffet.
Reichenbach Falls was where Sherlock engaged in a wrestling match with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, resulting in both plunging over it, in 1891. It was thought to be the end of the Sherlock. There is a second picture of the Falls over his bedroom fireplace.
The buffet with a white gasogene for making seltzer, and a supply of liquor.
The wall over Sherlock’s desk with the queen’s initials, VR (Victoria Regina), outlined in bullet holes made by Sherlock.
Sherlock’s desk with a light on. He could not throw away any publications, so there are bundles of newspapers around his desk, and more, including magazines and books, in the hall behind the staircase railing, and in a storage room under the stairs.
Another view of Sherlock’s desk with paperwork and his reference books. There are maps and posters on the walls, which reflect his many interests.
The bookcase with his newspaper clippings in albums.
Dr. Watson’s desk with pictures of Afghanis, Sir Conan Doyle in military uniform (my touch), his medical certificate, and General Charles George Gordon, a military officer he admired. His typewriter in on the table on the right, along with copies of Strand Magazine, the publication that ran many of the Holmes stories Watson supposedly wrote. His binoculars are hanging off the back of his chair and a small telescope is on his desk, along with elephant bookends holding medical books between them.
A gramophone Sherlock used, to listen to music. There is a stereoscope viewer also, with picture cards.
Dining area of the flat with tea Mrs. Hudson prepared.
The dining table and chairs.
Sherlock checking test tubes he is using in an experiment.
His chemical lab, where he carried out experiments such as checking the types of ashes left by different tobaccos.
A closer view of the lab.
A bust Sherlock had made of himself to fool onlookers from the street below. Someone took a shot at him through the window, and the bullet struck the head.
Sherlock checking the bust, perhaps to determine the direction the shot came from.
View of the left side of the flat and the fireplace. There is a complete set of Sherlock Holmes stories in the bookcase behind Sherlock’s green chair (my touch).
The Persian slipper that Sherlock kept his loose tobacco in.
A portrait of Sir Author Conan Doyle. I could not resist putting it over the doorway to Sherlock’s bedroom. I already mentioned a picture of him in his military uniform over Watson’s desk. He served in the Boer War, and he wrote that Dr. Watson was a veteran of the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880). There are many similarities between Watson and Doyle himself.
Sherlock’s chair by the fireplace, and the chess set he and Watson used.
The chaise lounge with Sherlock’s violin and music.
The table beside Sherlock’s chair holds his ashtray, cigars, reading material, and in the box on the lower shelf, his cocaine syringes. He used cocaine occasionally, and morphine to escape from “the dull routine of existence.” The sale of opium, laudanum, cocaine and morphine was legal in his time. Victorians considered it medicinal. Sherlock smoked cigars, cigarettes, and, of course, pipes.
Sherlock’s bedroom, with a closet in the left rear corner that contained a secret staircase to the street below. The snake under his bed is from one of Watson’s stories.
His bed with a syringe on it, and a copy of a bee digest.
In the back of his bedroom, there is his washstand, and in the corner, his boxing gloves (he was a noted boxer), fishing equipment, and the lantern he used on his forays into the night. His deerstalker hat hangs on the door frame, though Conon Doyle never wrote that Sherlock wore one, it is associated with him from magazine illustrations. There is a picture of two pugilists near it. Sherlock had also mastered the art of Japanese baritsu wrestling.
He was an accomplished swordsman.
This is the safe he kept in his bedroom to hold the money he was paid by clients, and to keep important documents, and the blue carbuncle.
Holmes was a master of disguise. For example, he was at times a sailor, a clergyman, a loafer, a book collector, a plumber, and an elderly woman. Some of the items he used are on this dresser.
The picture over his bed is of the Austrian violinist Wilhelmine “Wilma” Norman-Neruda, who was known as 'the female Paganini’. She is mentioned in one of Watson’s stories. There is also a picture of Paganini over his dresser. The make-up he used to disguise himself is seen on his dressing table. There is also a small picture of the only woman who ever bested him, Irene Adler. On the wall around his dressing table are framed pictures of some of the criminals he dealt with. Professor Moriarty’s picture is to the left of the mirror.
On the mantel in Sherlock’s bedroom is a book about raising bees. When Sherlock retired around 1904, he moved to the country and became a beekeeper.
Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective appeared on the cover of the September, 2018, issue of American Miniaturist, and in a seven-page article.
Step 1: A ¼ inch plywood shell was made with windows, and staircase opening cut out on the right side. This is the section for Sherlock's flat.
Step 2: Some furniture placed to help decide where to put the room dividing walls.
Step 3: Flooring installed and finished.
Step 4: Room divider walls glued in place. The door on the right was later moved closer to the front. A final coat of polyurethane was applied to the floors.
Step 5: Doors and trim stained and finished.
Step 6: Walls lined with white mat board, and a fireplace bump out made of foam core is added.
Step 7: Wallpaper installed. Doors and baseboards glued in place.
Step 8: Custom windows made and installed. Upper wall trim added. I like to use real glass in my windows instead of the more commonly used Plexiglas. It makes them easier to clean without scratching.
Step 9: Wall sconces wired through fireplace wall from attic above.
Step 10: Ceiling lights and flicker lights in two back-to-back fireplaces wired and tested.
Step 11: Tile hearths glued in place. They are made out of tiles cut from painted mat board, and finished with black wood moldings.
Step 12: Second set of fireplace flicker lights was wired through bedroom bumped out wall.
Step 13: Ceiling and wall lights installed in bedroom. Wire for the wall light was run through the false closet in the back of the room.
Step 14: Second floor added and windows made. A fourth window over the staircase was added later.
Step 15: Back of top two floors with space left for two 4-watt bulbs to create sunlight shining through the windows in the back of the flat. These two floors were glued together.
Step 16: Ground floor shell built.
Step 17: Bricks made of cardboard egg cartons glued on front of third floor exterior.
Step 18: Bricks mortared and sealed.
Step 19: View of third floor exterior with custom window trim.
Step 20: View of smaller window and trim on third floor.
Step 21: View of larger window and trim on third floor.
Step 22: Side walls bricked.
Step 23: Side walls mortared.
Step 24: Slate roof tiles installed on front and back roofs.
Step 25: The slate tiles made from mat board painted with different shades of white, gray, black, and dark green acrylic paints; then coated with a layer of thick craft glue to create a texture. The tiles were then cut out with a heavy-duty punch, glued in place, and sealed with two coats of watered-down glue.
Step 26: Tobacco shop cut into corner of ground floor, and corner of building covered with “marble” tile.
Step 27: The front of building was then covered with the “marble” tiles. To make these tiles, mat board was painted with white and two shades of grey acrylic paints. It was then cut into strips, then into rectangles, which were glued in rows across the front and sides of ground floor.
Step 28: The finished front ground floor exterior, with window trim and door installed. The door was built and painted earlier.
Step 29: Stair components stained and finished.
Step 30: Hallway with cutout for staircase. I made the opening smaller after I settled on the configuration for the stairs. I also tried a wallpaper with some paint splotches, but changed my mind and used a red patterned paper instead. I could make this change by covering the walls with another layer of mat board, and then papering again, before I glued it in place.
Step 31: Finished hall with flight of stairs halfway up to a platform, then behind a fake wall up the rest of the way to the third floor. I installed a green carpet runner down the hall and up the stairs. A chandelier was wired later through the top floor.
Step 32: Tile and paper installed in tobacco shop. Tile was made from mat board painted with several shades of green and cut into squares, then glued one by one to floor.
Step 33: Slate tiles were installed on window bump-out roofs, and final coat of paint applied to exterior of shop. Two strips of under-the-counter LED lights were added inside, above the front windows to light the interior.
Step 34: Signage and a suspended round working clock added, and door hardware installed.
Step 35: Shop interior was finished, and a ceiling has been added.
Step 36: Newspapers added to window display. I also strung copies of Strand Magazines across the top of the window (not shown). I printed the magazines and newspapers on my inkjet printer reducing the size to a little less than an inch.
Step 37: Pictured is some of the wiring I ran through the ceiling of the flat into the top story. I labeled all the wires. I know it looks messy, but they work and can be repaired easily. I used a transformer to step the electricity down to 12 volts for the light fixtures in the flat. Note: I didn’t feel like there was enough light in Sherlock’s rooms, so I installed 2 strips of LED lights along the front of the ceiling, hiding them behind moldings. I also used candelabra lights with plug-in cords for lighting behind the top floor windows. I installed two more for sunlight coming in the back windows of the flat in the empty space behind it.
Step 38: I made the chimneys last, and covered them with more egg carton bricks. I did not paint any of the bricks on the exterior of the building. I liked the egg carton variegated gray color, and had decided to make all the trim black to go with it. I finished off the house by putting it on a half inch plywood base big enough to extend on three sides to allow a sidewalk, which I covered in more mat board tiles. This is the biggest structure I have made from scratch. I will keep adding objects to Sherlock’s rooms. There are many left on my list, and I would also like to add a Watson figure.