Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson

The character of Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is connected to Canterbury in one story only - 'The Final Problem', which was published as a book in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The city is a backdrop to one scene only. Sherlock needed to travel to Switzerland to hide from his archenemy Professor Moriarty. He and Dr. Watson decided to take a train to Dover, unfortunately, Moriarty was on the very same train and therefore they got off in Canterbury to wait for another one. The city does not seem to carry any significance in the story, but we can consider Doyle acknowledging Canterbury as the traditional link between London and the coast leading to the continental Europe. What we cannot deny, however, is Sherlock Holmes' substantial role as a representation of the English culture. Countless books, films, television programmes, attractions, even the signature tweeted coat, ʹdetectiveʹ hat and pipe still keep him alive, despite Doyle's decision to have Sherlock fall off a cliff in The Final Problem. In the late 1970s, even the Holmes-inspired literary tourism took off. In this context, G. K. Chesterton notes that the popular fascination with Sherlock Holmes can lead to the future where some people genuinely believe that he was a real historical figure. Yet, David Hammer, an author of Sherlock-themed tours argues: ʹI never really believed that Holmes had lived. […] but I do believe that he was real; so real, in fact, that if he has not become a figure of history, he has of heritage, which surely constitutes a significant form of reality.ʹ[^ref1]

Article written by: Miroslava

[ref1]: D. McLaughlin, “Holmes as heritage.” p.1.