The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection Lancelyn Green Bequest

Holmes playing violin




The Little Actors and Junior Youth Theatre' in Portsmouth – children of five to eleven years old – meet weekly for drama workshops. Responding enthusiastically to stories of Sherlock Holmes, they have improvised and performed two plays about him, and chosen items to go in the accompanying case for their exhibition.


Tuesday 18th February 2014


Half Term Free Drama Workshops for all young people! 

A hands on dramatic experience exploring the ever changing world of Sherlock Holmes through the ages, from a 19th century piece of fiction to an i phone app! 

Event location: 

John Pounds Library. 23 Queen St. PO1 3HN


Workshop 1: 10am - 12.30

Workshop 2:  1.30 - 3.30pm

For more information please phone Laura on 023 9283 4184


Saturday 8th February 2014




There will be a whole range of activities and events taking place for all the family, showcasing the many services on offer.

There’s also a chance to find out more about our Conan Doyle Collection.

Whatever you enjoy doing, there’s something for everyone on National Libraries Day, and if you’re free on Friday 7th February, you can also come and take a tour around the Portsmouth History Centre at Central Library 2.15-3.15pm.

You can find more information about this event and more interesting activities on the following links:


18th of January to the end of February 2014!

The Lost World exhibition at the John Pounds Centre

A group of young people from the Portsmouth Autism Support Network have made their own animation inspired by The Lost World artefacts in the collection. The group chose film stills of the 1925 and 1960 version of The Lost World, an LP of the soundtrack, a book and an edition of The Strand Magazine with the original story inside. The project has been a collaboration with Artswork's Strong Voices and the exhibition will be on for a month in the reception of the John Pounds Centre.

You can watch the "The Lost and Found World" film on the following link:

The film was made in workshops delivered by Strong Island Media as part of the Strong Voices Programme by Artswork.


The Conan Doyle exhibition at the Festival of Christmas was a big success. We saw a total of 2500 people throughout the three day event (29 November - 1 December 2013), with comments such as:

'What a pleasure to find a good exhibition within the 'Festival of Christmas' to pass an hour in. Especially to see and hear Conan Doyle's own voice explaining his background towards his 'detective' writing'

'An outstanding exhibition'

 'This is a very interesting display of the vast Lancelyn Green Collection - and the highlight of my visit to The Festival of Christmas! Thank you very much!'



29 November - 1 December 2013, 10 - 6pm

Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

We will have a 'Sherlock' exhibition over this three day event with a Sherlock theme running throughout the Festival! Please check out their website for tickets, and to find out what else is happening!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013, BBC2 at 7pm


Presenters of Homes Under the Hammer, Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts, trade homes for antiques on this celebrity road trip. Paired up with a classic car, antiques experts James Braxton and James Lewis and £400 in their pocket, they scour the shops of Hampshire in search of a bargain to sell at auction for profit. A visit to a school for spies and revelations about a collection of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia add intrigue to their journey. All profits made to Children in Need.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Our FIRST Workshop is now up and running at Fratton Community Centre!

Portsmouth MIND has done an excellent job preparing this wonderful display showing objects relating to Sherlock Holmes and 221b Baker Street, the two books written in Portsmouth, A Study in Scarlet and a Sign of Four; and photographs depicting Conan Doyle's early years.

Please come and visit!

The exhibition will be on display from 30th of October to 27th of November 2013 in Fratton Community Centre

Trafalgar Place,Fratton,PO1 5JJ


Saturday 19 October 2013, 10 - 3pm

Opportunities Fair - Guildhall,

The Opportunities Fair for young people aged 9 - 13 year olds. This year, we are having a Cultural Services stand, and this time we'll be making Detective Masks with people.

Detective Mask Workshop

These are some of the masks created on Thursday, 15 August 2013 at the Portsmouth City Museum.


Thursday, 15 August 2013 11- 3pm

Create your own Detective Mask Workshop

A chance to make your own Sherlock detective mask at Portsmouth City Museum!

Using parts of actors faces that have played Sherlock Holmes, cartoon images and drawing, make your own new detective!

You will be able to download files from this website. Go to Education (see above) and click on-line activities.

Saturday, 20 July 2013 10-3pm

Portsmouth History Fair

The Portsmouth History Centre will be holding a history fair with stalls, displays and activities for children, as well as talks on several different topics. The Conan Doyle Collection will have a stand too, promoting the Collection.

Portsmouth History Centre is on the second floor of Portsmouth Central Library. Access to the search room is by a flight of stairs, or a lift. The building is fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Everyone welcome!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 18:00

St John’s College Apollo Society presents Sherlock Holmes – A Worldwide Phenomenon.

Few literary figures have gripped the world’s imagination quite so strongly as former Portsmouth resident Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Join Michael Gunton to explore this remarkable character. Michael is Senior Archivist at Portsmouth Museums, Archives and Visitor Services (Portsmouth City Council) and curator of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection – Lancelyn Green Bequest archive.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 20:30


Witness an action-packed adventure in the historic surroundings of the Square Tower, with an introduction by Michael Gunton, archivist for the City Museum's Conan-Doyle collection.

Monday, 24th June 2013

Sherlock Holmes Day! - Make A Detective Mask

Everyone knows of Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective of all times! But how many actors or cartoon characters have played him? What physical characteristics make a good detective? What tools does a detective need to solve crimes?

Using parts of actors faces that have played Sherlock Holmes, cartoon images and drawing, make your own new detective!

On the 24th June, you will be able to download files from the website Once you have made your very own detective mask, take a photograph send it in to us!

Sunday, 23 June 2013 16:30

Outdoor Walks With Portsmouth Tourism Guiding Service Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Walk.

Explore locations and buildings associated with the author during his early years in Southsea, including locations that will forever be connected to some of the characters featured in the world famous Sherlock Holmes novels.

Thursday 23 May, 2pm to 3pm at Southsea Library

Portsmouth - home of great writing. Part of Adult Learners' Week. Portsmouth has always been a city of great stories and great characters. Sherlock Holmes was conceived here, Charles Dickens was born here and everyday some of the best tales are told here. 'Portsmouth: Home of Great Writing' will introduce you to some of these stories and characters. This fascinating talk will be led by Laura Weston.

Book a place at any Portsmouth City Library. For further information, please call 023 9268 8999 or email

Friday 24 May, 10am to 11am at the Portsmouth History Centre, Central Library

Tour of the Portsmouth History Centre. Part of Adult Learners' Week. Join us for a fascinating free tour of the Portsmouth History Centre; home to Portsmouth’s local studies archives plus the Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens collections.

Book a free place at any Portsmouth City Library. For further information, please call 023 9268 8046 or email


Information about SHARING SHERLOCK - THE STORY OF A POMPEY LAD project can be found in the MAYHEM! Magazine. The article has been written by Vanesha Peach, one of our volunteers.


Exhibition Coordinator, Portsmouth's Conan Doyle Collection

Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth, Hampshire

£8,000 for 40 days

Portsmouth City Council has recently been awarded £90,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver Sharing Sherlock, The Story of a Pompey Lad. This funding will allow us to significantly increase and improve access to the Conan Doyle Collection for Portsmouth residents and the wider region. We are looking for interested persons with the relevant experience to develop and deliver the 10 touring exhibitions with community and school groups input, while also managing a team of volunteers.

The Conan Doyle Collection was bequeathed to Portsmouth City Council in 2004 by Richard Lancelyn Green, a leading expert on Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. For more information about the Conan Doyle Collection, please visit

For the full brief detailing how to apply, please email or contact Laura Weston on 02392 83 4184.

Deadline for submission: 2nd April 2013

Looking for volunteer? 20 March 2013

 We are now looking to recruit volunteers as a part of the Sharing Sherlock project, recently funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We would like anyone interested in working with the Conan Doyle Collection to develop and install 10 small exhibitions with community groups and schools. If you are interested, please email for an application form and volunteer role profile.


Calling all community groups and schools! 20 March 2013

Would your group or school like to take part in the Sharing Sherlock project? We are seeking 10 groups to develop and learn how to curate their own exhibition, using the Conan Doyle's fabulous collection! The exhibitions will then be shown across Portsmouth and further afield! For an informal chat or more information, please contact Laura Weston on

Saturday 23 February 2013, 11am to 3pm

OPEN DAY at Southsea Community Centre

Sharing Sherlock – The Story of a Pompey Lad

Join our Deerstalker Hat workshop and learn more about Sherlock Holmes and the Arthur Conan Doyle collection.

St. Paul's Square

King Street


Friday 15 February 2013 - Article published by The Portsmouth Evening News

Super sleuths

ELEMENTARY Michael Gunton, the senior archivist at Portsmouth City Museum, with pupils from Mayville High School Jed Hawker, Jack Fletcher, Freddie Gidney, Kristian Schafer and Joe Powles dressed as Sherlock Holmes. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13370-463)

ARMED with deerstalkers and magnifying glasses, these pupils look just like the detectives they are learning about at school.

Pupils at Mayville High School in Southsea have been holding a themed week about mysteries.

And as part of their education, they were visited on Monday by Portsmouth City Museum archivist Michael Gunton, who looks after the city’s Arthur Conan Doyle collection.

Tracy Holmes, from the school, said: ‘Michael was fantastic and he knew so much, which he shared with all the kids.

‘The kids were buzzing.

‘We’re trying to make the theme fit in with all areas of the curriculum.

‘We’re still sleuthing now.’

Wednesday 23 January 2013, 6.30

Maria Konnikova


How to think like Sherlock Holmes

An original and entertaining look at how we can use our brains to their full potential.

Portsmouth History Centre

Central Library, Guildhall Square,

Portsmouth, PO1 2DX

Tickets £3. Please contact the box office on 023 9268 8037 or email

Happy New Year, all of us at the Conan Doyle Collection hope you have a healthy and prosperous 2013!  

Portsmouth – The Home of Great Writing

We have lots of great things planned for 2013, work will start on the Heritage Lottery Fund:

  • 10 local exhibitions to be designed by community and school groups
  • Exhibiting these in community settings
  • 5 Handling boxes
  • Study packs
  • Online exhibition
  • Premiere of the Conan Doyle Collection film, date to be confirmed...

For Conan Doyle related talks, activities and events, please do stay in touch and find us on facebook:

For information on what is happening elsewhere in the city please go to:


Sharing Sherlock - The Story of a Portsmouth Lad

We recently heard that our funding bid was successful, and we have been awarded £90,000. This means that the Conan Doyle Collection can reach a much wider audience and provide a real legacy for the future.

There will be 30 outreach and education workshops run for schools and residents of Portsmouth, producing 10 touring exhibitions which will give communities a better understanding of the literary heritage of Portsmouth and the themes from the collection.

A new enhanced website with an online exhibition will be produced, study packs and handling boxes will be devised for schools and there are also plans to recruit 20 volunteers, each of who will become key members of the project, receiving training to support on various elements including the delivery of the schools workshops and the development of the online exhibition.

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England said: "Portsmouth has an outstanding collection of material about the life and work of Conan Doyle and his most famous creation Sherlock Holmes. This project means local people and schools can access the literary treasure trove about the world's most famous detective."

Set of six Conan Doyle postcards

On 24th June 2012, Portsmouth celebrated the 130th anniversary since Conan Doyle arrived in the city, devising a Sherlock Holmes Day and creating a set of six commemorative postcards. The text on the back is amalgamated from quotes sourced from Conan Doyle and paraphrased from the author.

“With its imperial associations, Southsea is a glorious place; Portsmouth a town where I know nobody, and nobody knows me...”

Now available at £4.50 per pack (including p&p) from Portsmouth City Council:



Please click on the link above and follow:

Miscellaneous > Conan Doyle > select ‘Arthur Conan Doyle postcards’

Please include the full postal address for delivery and email/telephone number.

Stephen Fry leads tributes to 125th anniversary of Sherlock Holmes

A Study in Scarlet written in 1887

Stephen Fry, patron of Arthur Conan Doyle Collection Lancelyn Green Bequest, said "I25 years of the world’s most recognisable, enduring and influential detective. A century and a quarter of Sherlock Holmes. When Doctor John Watson, having been invalided out of the war in Afghanistan, found himself drifting towards Piccadilly Circus in London “that great cesspool into which all the idlers and loungers of the Empire are irresistibly drained” he little knew that a chance encounter with an old army friend in the Criterion Bar would lead him to the great meeting with one he would later describe as “the best and wisest man whom I have ever known”. 

"Holmes is imperishable. Sometimes his reality, manners, traits, habits, turns of phrase, style of dress, his violin, cocaine, tobacco, deerstalker and magnifying glass obscure the achievements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man quite as remarkable as his best known creation. It is Conan Doyle we honour, thank and remember. The collection of his papers in Portsmouth is a fabulous treasure that Sherlockians, admirers of Doyle’s writing and those curious to find out more are grateful to know exists. It is carefully and professionally curated in the town for whose football club he once played in goal. 

"So raise a glass to the greatness of Doyle and the eternal glory of Sherlock Holmes, ushered into this world 125 years ago."

Links for the press

Saturday 24th of November 2012 - Sherlock Holmes event celebrating the 125th Anniversary of A Study in Scarlet at Portsmouth Central Library 11am - 3pm

  • 21st of November 2012 - 6th Postcard launched

The sixth postcard and the last of this collection, shows Arthur Conan Doyle’s first baby daughter Mary Louise who was born in February 1889.

  • 24th of October 2012 - 5th Postcard launched

This fifth postcard shows Arthur Conan Doyle second novel written in Portsmouth featuring Sherlock Holmes. Doyle wrote four novels and 56 stories starring the fictional detective. The text on the back has been taken from a reliable source that Conan Doyle wrote in those days.

  • 24th of September 2012 - 4th Postcard launched

The fourth postcard shows Arthur Conan Doyle’s wife, Louise Hawkins (known as Touie). It was during his time spent in Portsmouth as a doctor that Conan Doyle met and fell in love with her. They married at St Oswald’s church, Thornton in Lonsdale, in August 1885.

  • 24th of August 2012 - 3rd Postcard launched

The third postcard shows Arthur Conan Doyle with his wife and cricket team in April 1884.The text on the back has been taken from a reliable source that Conan Doyle wrote in those days.

  • Since 22nd August 2012 - Follow the Magnifying Sherlock Trail (for free)

Come to the City Museum and walk in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous creation Sherock Holmes. Ask at the reception to borrow an iPod and follow the trail around the City Museum grounds, or download the `Portsmouth Writers` ap and come along to the `Study in Sherlock` Exhibition at the City Museum to join in the fun! Free to all at any time during normal opening hours. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

  • 24th July 2012 - 2nd Postcard launched - facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's time in Portsmouth.

The second in a set of six postcards telling the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's time in Portsmouth is released today.

These postcards are to be given away free to members of the public for their enjoyment and awareness of the time Arthur Conan Doyle spent in Portsmouth.

The second postcard (available now) shows Arthur Conan Doyle outside his Elm Grove home and the text on the rear has been taken from an authenticated source attributed to Conan Doyle.

Each postcard is available for one month only during this initial release so be sure to collect them all. Release dates are as follows:-

Postcard 3 - 24/08/2012

Postcard 4 - 24/09/2012

Postcard 5 - 24/10/2012

Postcard 6 - 24/11/2012

Postcards are available from Portsmouth City Museum and the History Room at Portsmouth Central Library. They are also available from local community centres and bookstores Waterstones and Blackwells.

  • Planned launch Date of smartphone app 'Portsmouth Writers' 22/08/2012

The launch of our new smartphone app 'Portsmouth Writers' is planned to run alongside the 'Out to Lunch - Victorian Science Workshop' at Portsmouth City Museum on 22/08/2012 from 12 - 2 pm. Visitors will be encouraged to download the app and to take part in 'Magnifying Sherlock' Periplums' interactive navigational tour of the 'Study in Sherlock' exhibition at the museum also launching today.

  • 24th June 2012 - Postcards launch - facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's time in Portsmouth - Update 05/07/2012

A set of six postcards telling the story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's time in Portsmouth will be released one a month from today.

These postcards are to be given away free to members of the public for their enjoyment and awareness of the time Arthur Conan Doyle spent in Portsmouth.

The first postcard (available now) shows Southsea Seafront and the text on the rear has been taken from an authenticated source attributed to Conan Doyle.

Each postcard is available for one month only during this initial release so be sure to collect them all. Release dates are as follows:-

Postcard 2 - 24/07/2012

Postcard 3 - 24/08/2012

Postcard 4 - 24/09/2012

Postcard 5 - 24/10/2012

Postcard 6 - 24/11/2012

Postcards are available from Portsmouth City Museum and the History Room at Portsmouth Central Library. We hope to have more venues for distribution shortly so please come back soon and check.

  • Sunday 24th June 2012 - Family event at Portsmouth City Museum

Magical Hats and Mysterious Words

1 - 2pm & 3 - 4pm

City Museum & Records Office
Museum Road
PO1 2LJ  

T: (0)23 9282 7261

To commemorate the 130th anniversary of Arthur Conan Doyle’s arrival in Portsmouth in 1882, Portsmouth’s Children’s poet laureate, Steve Tasane, is holding a workshop at the City Museum on Sunday 24th titled: ‘Magical Hats and Mysterious Words’. We are asking families to come and make your own Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat, and create your own word puzzles, celebrating the City of Portsmouth and the stories of Sherlock Holmes, with tongue-twisting poet Steve Tasane.

  • 24th June 2012 - Sherlock Day

130 years since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came to Portsmouth to live with £10 in his pocket. He left eight and a half years later, well on his way to fame ad fortune as a writer with a young family.

There will be events and activities across Portsmouth.

We hope to celebrate a Sherlock Day every year!

  • From 22nd May 2012

Catching the Unseen: Spirit Photography from the Conan Doyle Collection

Portsmouth History Centre, Portsmouth Central Library

An exhibition of photographs, archives and books from the Arthur Conan Doyle collection - Lancelyn Green bequest.

You are warmly invited to an illustrated talk about spirit photography and Conan Doyle's involvement in the Spirtualist Movement by exhibition curator Dr Patti Gaal-Holmes. The talk is on 29th May at 6pm at the exhibition in Portsmouth History Centre.

  • April 2012 - 14th April 2012: Patti Gaal Holmes - Film Collection Day at Aspex Gallery -             11am - 4pm.   

Patti wants people living in Portsmouth to bring in old family films ("home movies") as evidence of their lives and the lives of their family in past decades to this Film Collection Day. Patti will use material from these films for a public screening in June. Wessex Film and Sound Archive (based in Winchester) have agreed to get involved with the project and to assist with technical aspects.

Find all next events under Activities.

September 2011

Apologies for absence - we have now managed to access and edit the website again - hooray!

Laura Weston has been appointed as the Community Access Officer, tasked with getting the Collection out into the community and letting everyone know Sherlock Holmes was Made In Portsmouth! Watch this space for more information!


April 2011

Conan Doyle Projects Officer, Dr Fiona-Jane Brown left to return to Scotland - the post has regretably not been extended due to the budgetary cuts which affect the whole council.  The collection has a board of trustees who will be tasked with fundraising and promotion in the future.

The archive is open for business!

March 2011

Lots of nice coverage of our archive opening in the press, locally and nationally including a nice feature in the Portsmouth News which showed pictures from the archive.

Pleased to welcome several classes of Adult Learners from WEA to the Conan Doyle room for a series of workshops introducing them to the author and his work.  Amanda Burgess from WEA based at the Omega Centre is keen for the students to engage with this important local collection.

A group of drama students from Portsmouth University are gearing up to present a new murder mystery play, inspired by the Sherlock Holmes stories, featuring the great detective, his biographer Dr Watson, and their old adversary, Irene Adler in 'The Prima Donna's Last Aria'. 

The play was presented as part of the Lost Hour activities on March 26 as we lose an hour when the clocks change to BST, and took place at the John Pounds Centre at 2pm.  

A second performance took place at the Central Library's Menuhin Theatre on Tuesday 29 March in the evening.  Pictures of Saturday's performance are on the Facebook page.

February 2011

A very successful opening by Andrew Lycett and Mrs June Lancelyn Green.  Very pleased to welcome to members of the Doyle family who came especially for the event.  A big thank you to everyone who has worked with the collection so far and helped it reach this new phase!

Archive catalogue report - 68% of the archival material has now been added to the catalogue and thus is available for public access.  Volunteers are continuing to work on the collection to ensure that all 40,000 items are indexed - if you want to lend a hand, please contact us.

Facebook group experienced a boost this month - now up to 140 members

January 2011
31 January saw the re-opening of the Norrish Central Library after months of closure due to flood damage.  The new Arthur Conan Doyle Research and Archive Centre is also ready in its splendid new colour scheme for the official opening on 21st February.  Archivist Michael Gunton is available most days, but those who wish to use the archive should phone in advance. 

The new centre features a large graphical time line of Conan Doyle's life, from his birth in Edinburgh in 1859 to his death in Crowborough in 1930, studded with images of family photos, famous book covers and film posters.  The walls feature famous quotes from Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Conan Doyle's Casebook - our Facebook page clocked up 109 members by the end of the month, so the word is really spreading!

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