Oh! Anon! Magical Anon who showed up exactly when I was thinking I would never know the answer to a question because I don’t know anyone who would have a reason to be near St. Bart’s! Since you did show up at exactly this moment, I feel I have to ask a favor, though of course you should feel no obligation whatsoever to help me.
If you do go over to have a fannish look around, would you mind seeing if there’s normally a traffic cone with a piece of paper that says “SLOW DOWN” taped to it in that entrance you’re referring to?
It’s just that it was sitting in the shot that was the most crucial one for us to watch frame-by-frame and all. If it was placed intentionally for the show, then it’s a funny clue. But if that cone’s real, then it’s amazing and I love it in a whole different way.
Since I haven’t been there, I’m not a great expert on the overall layout of St. Bart’s, but my impression is that you’re right about the courtyard thing. Google Maps seems to back that up as well. I don’t know if that entrance is the normal way one would head into St. Bart’s in all cases, but for Reichenbach purposes I think we are to treat it as “the entrance” since it’s where John was headed when he was trying to go inside and find Sherlock.
As for why the kids would eat the sweets… Yes, Sherlock gave us a little demonstration of Mercury not tasting good when he licked the wrapper. But he also said, “The hungrier they got, the more they ate, the faster they died.” I think the implication was that the kidnappers did their best to starve the kids so they’d eat the candy because it was the only thing available.
This fits with the original Hansel and Gretel story, wherein the children were originally being abandoned in the woods to starve to death. They found a candy/gingerbread house to eat, but of course that turned out to put them in harm’s way again since it belonged to a witch.