Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
The building had been a lodging house from 1860-1934, so the building itself is of the correct period, since Sherlock and Dr. Watson occupied the premises from 1881-1904. There was a gift shop on the ground level disguised as Mrs. Hudson's tea shoppe with a separate entrance. Once you go through the door, you go up a narrow flight of stairs to the parlour in the front and Sherlock's bedroom in the rear of the second floor. Dr. Watson's and Mrs. Hudson's bedrooms are on the third floor, Dr. Watson's laboratory and W/C on the fourth floor.
It was amazing. Everything there was authentic to the period. The rooms were tiny. All the artifacts were directly related to his cases. The employees were costumed in period attire as a bobby and two maids. On the website there's a Dr. Watson playing tour guide, but he wasn't there when we went, although the website did say they were hiring, so maybe they needed an new Dr. Watson. They never have an actor playing Sherlock, if people ask, they just say he's out on a case.
My 34 Year Long Journey finally ends
This was as far as I got last time I was here. There were signs up at the station that implied that the museum was closed for renovation. What I didn't know was that it hadn't opened yet. In fact, the museum had been in a planning phase for years and didn't actually open until 1990.
In Sherlock's time, Baker Street didn't go as far as 221. The author was kind enough not to bother residents of the street by giving a real address for his fictional detective. The street that extended on north of Baker Street was called Upper Baker Street to differentiate it from regular Baker Street. In the 1930's, the Westminster City Council decided to do away with the distinction, and all the addresses along Upper Baker Street were reallocated to continue seamlessly from the Baker Street addresses. The bank that occupied those famous premises quickly put up a historical plaque on the outside of the bank building. Or rather, it was the company that owned the building the bank was in, Abbey National.
The bank then discovered that it would soon have to hire a secretary to answer all the fan mail (as well as genuine letters for help) that began arriving in droves. It probably pissed them off to have to pay a salary to answer mail that wasn't for them, but they sucked it up and also probably gloried in the fame of it all. Who knows, maybe the Abbey National people paid for the secretary, since they were the ones who paid for the plaque.
Fast forward to 1990. The Sherlock Holmes museum opened at the slew of addresses between 237 and 241, just down the street from the bank. A controversy brewed up almost immediately. The problem was that the museum had put a blue sign out front duplicating the look of the actual historical society signs with the 221B address, just like Holmes and Watson were real people and had really lived there, regardless of the fact that that wasn't the actual address. To make matters worse, for the grand opening ceremony, the Westminster City Council officially gave the 221B address to the museum so the mail service began delivering letters there as well.
The Abbey National people were angry because the museum was stealing their famed address, as well as their mail, so a fifteen year long legal battle ensued. The fight raged on, until Abbey National closed its doors in 2005, thus ending the legal battle and giving official ownership of the address to the museum.
It only took 34 years for me to finally make it there!