19 May 2004
Conan Doyle's original name plate put up when he was in general practice at Bush Villa, Southsea, Portsmouth, 1882-90, engraved:
'DR. CONAN DOYLE
PHYSICIAN & SURGEON'
brass mounted on mahogany, 244 x 459mm.
In Memoirs and Adventures (pp. 62-65) Conan Doyle describes how he arrived at Portsmouth in July 1882 to set up in practice as a general physician after a false start in Plymouth. His worldly possessions were contained in a small trunk and he had less than £10 to meet expenses and to furnish a house. He managed to rent Bush Villa in Southsea (the residential part of Portsmouth) for £40 a year and there he put up the plate which he had had made earlier during a brief partnership in Plymouth.
Conan Doyle wrote, 'Servants, of course, were out of the question, so I polished my own plate every morning, brushed down my front, and kept the house reasonably clean.'
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