Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

First published in Hampshire Heritage

ARTHUR Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh. Conan was part of his given name but he adopted it as part of his surname in later years.

He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and served as a ship's doctor before setting up his own medical practice in Plymouth which he later relocated to Portsmouth.

His medical practice wasn't very successful and he kept himself busy between patients by writing stories.

His first significant publication was A Study in Scarlet which appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual (1887).

This featured the first appearance of the detective Sherlock Holmes, who Conan Doyle partly based on his old professor, Joseph Bell.

He went on to have further short stories featuring the detective in magazine The Strand.

He began reflecting on killing off Holmes in 1891, telling his mother that the character takes my mind from better things' and did so in 1893 in order to dedicate more time to what he considered more important works - historical novels.

In The Final Problem Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty seemed to have plunged to their deaths down a waterfall.

But in response to public outcry, Conan Doyle revived the character in The Adventure of the Empty House.

Sherlock Holmes appeared in 56 short stories and four novels by Conan Doyle and has also appeared in many stories by other authors since.

In 1885 he married his first wife, Louisa Hawkins. The couple had two children. She suffered from tuberculosis and died in 1906. A year later he married Jean Leckie, with whom he had three more children.

Among his more serious works was a pamphlet he wrote in response to condemnation from around the world to the UK's involvement in the Boer War.

The pamphlet, The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Conduct, justified the UK's role and Conan Doyle believed that it was this that resulted in him being knighted and appointed as Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey.

He was a firm believer in justice and his involvement led to two wrongly-imprisoned men being released. It was partly because of one of the cases he was involved in that the establishment of the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907.

In later life Conan Doyle became involved in spiritualism and he wrote a book stating his support for the belief that the Cottingley fairy photographs were genuine.

He died of a heart attack and was buried at Minstead in the New Forest.

NAME: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle OCCUPATION: Writing the Sherlock Holmes books date of birth: May 22, 1859 DIED: July 7, 1930 local link: Lived in Portsmouth and is buried in Minstead churchyard.

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