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Archive Discovery Proves Sherlock Holmes Was a Real Person

Published: 1st April 2015 09:18

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."

For more information go to

Updates and images of artefacts will be added to the website as they become available.

Update: This is an April Fool's joke. Sorry.

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