Blue plaque unveiled for Sherlock author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's link with a North Norfolk pub that inspired one of his Sherlock Holmes adventures has been marked with a blue plaque.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's link with a North Norfolk pub that inspired one of his Sherlock Holmes adventures has been marked with a blue plaque.

The author often visited the centuries-old Hill House in Happisburgh and in 1903 wrote The Adventure of the Dancing Men while staying there.

In it Holmes cracks a code consisting of little dancing figures, which was prompted by a strange script that the pub landlord's son had written in the Hill House's guest book.

However the Hill House's heritage, along with the rest of the picturesque village, is threatened by coastal erosion and the pub may have only 25 years left if no action is taken.

Now its literary significance has been commemorated by the latest in the series of blue plaques erected by the EDP and Norwich School of Art & Design.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb unveiled the plaque on Saturday in front of a crowd of EDP readers and Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts.

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He said: “Can I congratulate the EDP and Norwich School of Art & Design on a very good scheme that has marked out a place in Norfolk's literary history.

“This is a great idea and it highlights the concern that so many of us have about the future of this village. We have a real landmark historic building here.”

In the story Holmes and his colleague Dr John Watson travel to Norfolk from 221B Baker Street after being asked to solve a mystery by Norfolk squire Hilton Cubitt, a character named after the Cubitt family who ran the Hill House at the time of Conan Doyle's visits. Cubitt lives in the fictional village of Riding Thorpe, a name prompted by nearby Ridlington and Edingthorpe.

Carrie Chandler, of the Sherlock Holmes Society, travelled from Kent to attend the unveiling ceremony.

She said: “Norfolk has a very important connection to Sherlock Holmes with the Hound of the Baskervilles, the story Gloria Scott and of course the Adventure of the Dancing Men here in Happisburgh. It's certainly a place that's close to our hearts, and it's great that it's being marked in this way.”