Historic Salisbury Arms to undergo major renovation work

Salisbury Arms landlord Robin Jacobs. Picture: TSPL
Salisbury Arms landlord Robin Jacobs. Picture: TSPL
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IT’S an iconic pub at the heart of the city’s Southside, holding strong links to writers, doctors and publishers.

But the most intriguing connection the Salisbury Arms has is with the fictional private detective Sherlock Holmes, and the family the series of stories is based on.

The public house, situated on Dalkeith Road, is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, but owner Robin Jacobs has said it is important the pub’s history is preserved.

Built around 1820 by the Bell family, who were prominent surgeons, advocates and writers of the time, the building was originally called Belleville, and stood firm as the area was transformed from farmland to a well-heeled suburb with a history of sport and printing.

From the Bell family came Joseph Bell, the medical lecturer widely regarded as the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, Sherlock Holmes.

The pair met in 1877 when Doyle worked for Bell as a clerk.

Whether Conan Doyle was ever a visitor to Belleville is unclear, but it is thought he dropped by on a few occasions.

Six years ago, the public house was renovated into a Georgian paradise, but now Nick wants to give the popular eating and drinking spot a more colourful, contemporary and relaxed feel, as well as restoring its history.

Having spent the last three years managing the renowned Sheep Heid in Duddingston, Robin said: “The Salisbury Arms is such a beautiful pub and provides a hub for the local community so I’m really pleased to be here for when it begins its next chapter.

“We are going to give it a freshen up, and give it a cool, modern and industrial theme.

“We have some stunning changes planned that will allow us to retain the history of the pub, whilst at the same time bringing it into the 21st century – making it a stylish spot for friends and family to get together.”

He added: “I think it’s really cool how much history the building holds and it is very important that is preserved.

“It gives the pub its own identity and we should embrace that. I imagine it will attract visitors from all over.

“We are planning on incorporating its historical links subtly, perhaps with a few books and small touches. Nothing major.”

The pub is situated across from the Royal Commonwealth Pool, with stunning views across Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. The building has two dining areas and a bar.

The much-anticipated fourth TV series of Sherlock, created by Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, hit our screens this month, with the last episode of the series due to air on Sunday evening.

The pub will re-open on Wednesday February 1.