The Brettish Empire
May 27, 1996
Vol. II #7
Here's some more information about London's Sherlock Holmes Pub and the late, lamented
"Sherlock in the Arches" shop (followed by news about JB's last film and his last will...)
I MISSED IT!
In TBE Vol. 2 #6, I wrote about my experience visiting the Sherlock
Holmes Pub. I was disappointed because there didn't seem to be much Holmes
"memorabilia" on display. I had gone upstairs to view the memorabilia (as
directed by a sign), but all I saw was a kitchen, a roped-off restaurant
and a waitress, who told me the memorabilia had been moved downstairs.
Well, not all of it! Several readers wrote to tell me what I missed:
"I'm surprised at this. The Sherlock Holmes Pub was opened in 1957 to
house what had been a large part of the 1951 Festival of Britain
Exhibition on Sherlock Holmes, which had been assembled by St. Marylebone
Library; artifacts and a reconstruction of Sherlock Holmes' sitting room.
The artifacts are scattered around the walls downstairs, but the sitting
room, in very much reduced form, is upstairs. As you go upstairs you turn
left into the corridor at the top. At the end of this corridor on the
right is a door (opposite that to the kitchen). From here you can look
into the room. If you go into the restaurant at the end of the corridor
and turn right, there is a large wall of glass which gives you a perfect
view. It was in front of this wall that David Burke and members of the
Sherlock Holmes Society of London sat for the filming of the recent A & E
programme on Holmes. It may be that the pub is renovating or something,
but I've not heard it on the grapevine."
[LLO here--I believe the door on the right was shut, which is why I didn't
notice the sitting room. Fortunately, the room is still there, as our
next report confirms.]
"We were in London at the same time, so I am not sure, but I think you
must have gone [to the pub] after I did. My friend and I went there on the
Friday [March 15] before the luncheon and had a similar experience as you
up to the point of getting to the top of the stairs and speaking to the
waitress. Actually, we didn't ask about the memorabilia, but about lunch,
which we were almost late for. But, we did get seated and there was a
room to the right as we entered that was roped off and had a diorama of the
Baker Street sitting room of Holmes and Watson. The rest is as you said,
just a few things sold as souvenirs, but the room was set up and looked
like it had been there for some time."
[LLO again--I also mentioned searching for "Sherlock in the Arches".
Here's a clever story which ties in with both the "Arches" shopping arcade on
Villiers Street and the SH Pub.]
Richard J. Simpson
"I would like to mention that while you are walking under the 'arches' you
are only two blocks from the Sherlock Holmes Pub. I always take my tour
groups through the arches, heading west. After leaving the arches and
walking along the dark alley for one block, I apologize for being lost,
suggest we call it a night, and proceed another 20 steps to the unmarked
side door of the pub! It always gets a groan. I haven't been there since
last March. I hope they haven't dismantled the 'Room'. I always looked
forward to pointing out the artifacts that were evident everywhere. One
time I was able to get my group right inside the room. They didn't do that
very often, they said. I believe this was the same group that I took
backstage to meet Jeremy when he was performing at Wyndham's. It was too
bad that none of that particular tour were Sherlockians, maybe they are now!"
[LLO once more--And perhaps they're "Brettians", too! :-> BTW, I didn't
realize just how close the SH Pub and the Arches were to each other until
I had been to both places. If my trusty map of London hadn't slipped out of
my pocket somewhere during my wanderings, I would have noticed this ahead
of time. Oh, well...And, now the unhappy fate of Sherlock in the Arches.]
"As it happens, I do know something about Sherlock in the Arches. It was
run by an artist friend of mine, Dierdre Keetley, whom I originally met when
buying one of the 'Portrayals of Holmes' plates that you mentioned. In
fact, I later won a free weekend at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel by
identifying and providing some other information about all the actors
portrayed on [the plate].
Anyway, Dierdre opened and ran the shop at the request of the managers of
the Sherlock Holmes Pub. She was to get it up and running and then they
were going to take it over, as it was awkward to sell the Sherlockiana in
the pub. (They were too busy serving customers.) Over the next few months,
Dierdre got married and was building a home in Ireland, and the owners
decided they didn't want to take on the shop, even though the current
managers were more than willing to do it. Dierdre couldn't run it, her
art gallery, and her concessions in the S.H. Hotel while commuting to and
from Ireland. She tried very hard to find someone to take it over--she even
talked to me me about it and I would have LOVED to, but the timing was all
[The shop] was located directly across from the Players Theatre where the
private celebration took place after Jeremy's memorial service in
November. Very few, if any, Sherlockians were invited to it, so we all met
at Dierdre's shop and she had wine and snacks for us. It was really very
nice even though it was a tiny little place. I think she must have closed
the store shortly thereafter. We went by to check, too, in March and found
the shop empty except for a mannequin that had been Holmes and an etched
glass bowl on a little table. Sad. Dierdre had some nice things and her
prices were reasonable.
The last time I was in the Pub there were some small items being sold
upstairs in the dining room, but the staff knew little, if anything about
them. There were also some pictures (none of Jeremy), tea towels, T-shirts,
etc., on the wall to the left just before you go up the stairs. We didn't
go there this [March]."
So, apparently I [LLO] did manage to find Sherlock in the Arches--I just
didn't realize it was the empty room across from the Players Theatre which
I kept curiously peering into.
Thank you, Catherine, Bob, Richard and Paula for your informative
Now, in summation, here is my advice for those of you who may be visiting
London and the S.H. Pub in the future:
1) Make sure your London map is securely in your pocket.
2) When you reach the top of the stairs at the S.H. Pub, ask to see the
"sitting room", not the "memorabilia". Better yet, eat in the restaurant!
3) Try to find a tour guide like Richard Simpson! :->
HIS LAST BOW
I've learned that Moll Flanders, the film in which Jeremy played his
final role, will be released in the U.S. on June 14. I managed to find an
advance review on the Internet, and a preview in a recent issue of Entertainment
Weekly. According to these articles, Moll Flanders is
rather loosely based on the Daniel Defoe novel. For instance, Morgan
Freeman (of Seven and Driving Miss Daisy fame) plays a character named
"Hibble", who is not in the novel. Robin Wright (of
The Princess Bride
and Forrest Gump) plays the title character, whom Hibble befriends. The
film begins with Hibble recounting Moll's tragic life to her young
daughter. Moll was born in the prison where her mother was later
hanged. From there, it was all downhill, with plucky Moll going from the
prison to a hellish convent and later to a brothel, with many a plot twist
in between. One bright spot in Moll's life came when she fell in the love
with "The Artist", a gentle painter. This is where Jeremy comes in--he
plays the The Artist's wealthy, snobbish father.
The Internet reviewer loved Moll Flanders and gave it four stars. He
raved about the acting, writing, directing, costumes and music. The film is
rated "PG-13" by the MPAA, due to some violence depicting the brutality of the era and some
"tame" sex and nudity. However, the reviewer added that he didn't think
there was any profanity, and, overall, this high-budget film was very
tastefully done. Despite the rather somber subject matter, the reviewer
described Moll Flanders as "a marvelous character study and a moving
motion picture." It will certainly be moving for the fans of Jeremy
Brett, who have waited a year to see this, his final appearance. His role
is brief, of course--Jeremy spent one day in Ireland filming his
scenes--but I'm sure his "little golden nugget" will seem large in our
minds as we view it.
HIS LAST WILL
The following was published in the May 23 edition of The London Times:
"Mr Peter William Jeremy Huggins, of London SW4, Jeremy Brett, the actor,
known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on television, left
estate valued at Pounds 634,744 net.
He left Pounds 3,000 to his fan club known as 'The Regulars', with the
wish it be divided equally between those persons who are members at
I think it's quite thoughtful of Jeremy to have provided for that loyal
band of fans in his will. So typical of the man, though.
(Thank you, Debi, for bringing this notice to my attention.)
Well, that's all for this issue of TBE. Thanks for reading. Take care,
Until next time,
TBE Home Page
"The Brettish Empire"/"TBE" Copyright
Lisa L. Oldham.