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Sherlock Holmes - a High Constable?

Charles Doyle was born in London, the youngest son of seven children to John Doyle, a Victorian illustrator. In 1849 he came to Edinburgh as an assistant to the surveyor in the Scottish Office of Works, a position that allowed him to develop his artistic talents. He supplemented his civil service income as an illustrator for notable papers such as The Graphic and London Society.

WinningshotThe Winning Shot - Duddingston Loch
Watercolour and ink on paper
Charles Altamont Doyle (1832-1893)
Reproduced by kind permission of the City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries

He had 10 children, the best known of these being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Whether Charles Doyle had any association with the High Constables of Edinburgh is simply not known. However, the young Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine at Edinburgh University and it is thought that one of his mentors, Joseph Bell FRCSE, may have been the inspiration for the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes. Joseph Bell was indeed a High Constable of Edinburgh and became Society Surgeon in 1865. As for curling, the Society has to this day a thriving Curling Club.