Mr Monkey scampered through the streets of Southsea until he arrived at the junction of Castle Street and Elm Grove. Here he stopped to examine a plaque on the side of Bush House, describing Arthur Conan Doyle's life at No 1 Bush Villas in Portsmouth. Mr Monkey noticed quite quickly that Bush House didn't look anything like a Victorian villa, but he already knew that the villa had been destroyed by bombing during the war.
The plaque reads :
Arthur Conan Doyle began his professional career as a GP at No.1 Bush Villas in the summer of 1882. He had arrived in
Portsmouth in the June of that year, from Plymouth, with no job, nowhere to live and little more than £10 to his name.
While he lived in Portsmouth, Conan Doyle threw himself into the life of the City. He joined the local Portsmouth
Literary and Scientific Society, gave numerous speeches on topics of the day, and played for the local cricket and bowls
teams, as well as being the first goalkeeper for what is now Portsmouth Football Club. He also began a second career, writing
successful novels including Micah Clarke and The White Company, as well as the first two Sherlock Holmes novels, A Study
in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. Portsmouth was, in this sense, the birthplace of the world's greatest ever fictional detective.
By the time Arthur Conan Doyle left Portsmouth he had proved himself to be a grat friend to many Portsmouth residents,
an active local sportsman, and a successful and valued doctor. He had discovered spiritualism, become a father, and
created one of the most famous liteary figures the world has ever known.
It is little wonder that he remembered the City with such great fondness for the rest of his life.
Return to Mr Monkey in Portsmouth
Copyright Rik Shepherd and Mr Monkey.