Who’s returned to Picardy Place? It’s elementary…

Refurbished Conan Doyle monument, which is a statue of Sherlock Holmes, on Picardy Place island.

Sherlock Holmes has returned to keep a watchful eye over Picardy Place, as his newly refurbished statue is unveiled.

Marking the nearby birthplace of the super sleuth’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the life-sized bronze sculpture was removed in 2018 while Trams to Newhaven works were carried out. It has been renovated by Black Isle Bronze in Nairn.

On Wednesday, 13 September, Conan Doyle’s relative and creator of the Sherlock Homes Tartan, Tania Henzell, helped to unveil the statue in position on the newly redeveloped Picardy Place island, which will open to the public next week.

The island includes new pedestrian routes and cycleways, ‘rain gardens’ and trees and shrubs, which will be planted on the island in October, during planting season.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

Sherlock’s return has been the finishing touch for Picardy Place island – I’m pleased to welcome him back to his creator’s birthplace, taking pride of place in this transformed public space.

For so long this area has been disused and unloved, so it’s wonderful to see it brought back to life. Not only will it link walking and cycling routes to and from the city centre, but will provide a spot to relax, meet up and enjoy some of the fascinating cultural artefacts on display.

Tania Henzell added:

I am pleased to see that Sherlock Holmes has returned to the new location, Picardy Place island, to keep a watchful eye in the heart of Edinburgh. Many of his followers have asked where he had gone; to the north of Scotland to solve a long running case, I replied!

The Homes statue was sculpted by Gerald Ogilvie Laing and was originally installed near 11 Picardy Place, where Conan Doyle was born, which has since been demolished.

The reconstruction of Picardy Place has been delivered as part of the Growth Accelerator Model Agreement for the St James Quarter development.

Commenting on Sherlock’s return, Barry Young of The Sherlock Holmes Society of Scotland said:

It's wonderful to see Conan Doyle's most famous creation back in the heart of the capital. We understand that in his absence Holmes has met the head lama in Tibet, travelled through Persia and sorted out a spot of trouble with the Statue of Liberty, the results of which he has communicated to the foreign office.

He now retakes his rightful place in Picardy Place, overseeing the teeming metropolis and ready to undertake the investigation of whatever mysterious domestic issues might be puzzling the authorities.

City Archaeologist John Lawson said:

We are delighted to see this statue back in place, now due to the creation of this new island we were now able to place closer to the original birth place of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Published: September 13th 2023