The Sherlock Holmes Society of London


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Under the auspices of the Society a statue of Sherlock Holmes was finally unveiled in London on the 23rd September 1999. However, this was by then the fourth public statue to be put up round the world. On the 24th June 1991 Edinburgh acquired its statue in Picardy Place. On the 9th October 1988 the Japanese had inaugurated their version at Koshinzuka Park in Karuizawa to the accompaniment of a parade of local Holmesian in English Victorian costume. However, the honour of erecting the first statue of Holmes, and to date the only seated one, goes to Meiringen in Switzerland, the town memorably associated with Holmes’s great encounter with Professor Moriarty at the nearby Reichenbach Falls.

The Swiss statue was, like its London counterpart, the work of the British sculptor John Doubleday and was unveiled on the 10th September 1988, just a month before the Japanese ceremony. The bronze figure of Holmes sits on a rock, hands crossed and smoking his pipe and represents the great detective in pensive mood some hours before his meeting with Moriarty. The statue project was part of the regeneration work on the village square, now Conan Doyle Place, and situated a few yards away behind Holmes’s shoulder is the old English Church which contains the Sherlock Holmes Museum opened in 1991. Discreetly carved in or placed on the statue are sixty motifs or devices representing each of the Holmes stories.

On the day of the unveiling a large contingent of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, who had been progressing through Switzerland on the Society’s fourth visit to that country, were present in costume, amidst much ceremony, to give the statue their blessing and were greeted by the Mayor of Meiringen. The unveiling ceremony itself was performed by the President of the Government of Canton Berne.

Peter Horrocks