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Reason for inclusion: The buildings are on the site of The Black Swan Hotel in which Holmes and Watson had lunch with Violet Hunter Following her summons ” Please be at the Black Swan Hotel at Winchester at midday tomorrow, it said. Do come! I am at my wits’ end”.
Accessibility: The site is on the major junctions of High Street, Southgate Street and Jewry Street. Access is best by foot as this is a very busy junction and no close parking is available except at The Castle carpark near Westgate.
Description: Retail and Office buildings
Comments: The Black Swan Hotel is one of the few hotels or inns mentioned in the Canon by their real names. Watson describes the hotel as “an inn of repute in the High Street, at no distance from the station”. Prior to the railway coming to Winchester in 1839, the hotel was the principal stopping place in the city for the old road waggons bringing heavy goods in and out of Winchester. The hotel adapted to the opening of the railway line and sent carriages to meet the trains. It would have been extremely busy when the Assizes were in session crowded with lawyers and journalists as the law courts are nearby.
In 2013 Winchester’s connection with Sherlock Holmes was marked with a new £200 plaque funded by the City Council. It reads:
“The black swan above you is a replica of one which once adorned the Black Swan Hotel that stood on this site from the 19th century until 1935 when the hotel was demolished and replaced by Black Swan Buildings. The Black Swan Hotel was ‘visited’ by Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”
Contemporary illustration copyright Winchester City Council Collections. Provided by Hampshire Cultural Trust.