St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield is well known to Sherlock Holmes fans of today for having featured as a filming location in “The Reichenbach Fall” episode of the popular TV show Sherlock. But readers of the original Sherlock Holmes stories might know that the same hospital’s chemical laboratory is the place where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson first met, as described in the novel A Study in Scarlet published by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887.
To this day, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum celebrates this meeting with a plaque donated in 1953 by the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit, which reads as follows: “At this place New Year’s Day, 1881 were originally spoken these deathless words ‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.’ by Mr. Sherlock Holmes in greeting to John H. Watson, M.D. at their first meeting / The Baker Street Irregulars - 1953 / By The Amateur Mendicants at the Caucus Club”
Upon entering the museum, the plaque is located on the left-hand side, by the window, and is accompanied by an information panel and a copy of A Study in Scarlet.
Know Before You Go
As of September 2021, St. Bart's Hospital Museum is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After October 11, it will be open Wednesday-Thursday, 10am-4pm.
The easiest way to reach the museum is to enter the hospital complex from the Smithfield Market side, by passing under the gatehouse bearing a statue of Henry the VIIIth. Pass St. Bartholomew the Less church on the left and stay straight. The museum is a door located to the right. Once inside the museum, if your back is to the register, head to the opposite wall; the plaque is by the window, in the room to the right.