Famous Fictional Middlesaxons: Sherlock Holmes

In 1887 one of the Middlesex’s greatest fictional characters was brought to life in the pages of Beeton’s Christmas Annual.  Residing at 221b Baker Street with his companion Dr Watson and housekeeper Mrs Hudson, Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring and recognisable fictional detectives.

The great detective exerts a huge influence on streets of the capital county with many landmarks featuring in the original books, film productions and more recently in the successful TV series starring Beneditch Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

221b Baker Street: At the time when the original stories were published the numbering of properties on Baker Street did not go as high as 221.  However, Baker Street was extended and in 1932 Abbey National Building Society moved to 219–229 Baker Street.  For many years, Abbey National employed a secretary to answer mail received from around the world addressed to Sherlock Holmes.  There was a long standing dispute between the Abbey National and the Sherlock Holmes Museum over who had the right to receive mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street.  Abbey National left the site in 2002 and the mail is now delivered to the Museum.

North Gower Street: The exterior shots in the latest TV production were not actually filmed in Baker Street but half a mile north-east in North Gower Street where the duo live above Speedy’s Café which exists in reality as a sandwich bar which is said to have seen a marked increase in business since filming of the BBC TV series.

Statue of Sherlock Holmes: Standing outside Baker Street station on Marylebone Road, this statue (sculpted by John Doubleday) was unveiled on 23 September 1999 and funded by Abbey National Building Society.

The Sherlock Holmes Pub, 10-11 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5DB: This pub is a bit of a shrine to Sherlock Holmes containing artefacts from an exhibition featuring the great detective which was originally put together for the Festival of Britain in 1957.  The main attraction is a replica of Holmes and Watson’s sitting room and study which is adjacent to the restaurant where diners can view the area through a large glass partition which enjoying delicacies such as Mrs Hudson’s Homemade Steak & Ale Pie, The Hound of the Baskerville Toad in the Hole and Mycroft’s Roasted Herbed Chicken.   It was also at this venue where Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in “The Noble Batchelors”. Old Scotland Yard is just across the other side of Northumberland Avenue.

Chinatown: Sherlock and John Watson walk down Gerrard Street on their way to oriental curio shop The Lucky Cat in the mystery of the Blind Banker (BBC TV Production).

Tapas Brindisa, Soho: This restaurant at 46 Broadwick Street in Soho is the place Sherlock and John sit and wait for the appearance of a taxi in S1E1: A Study in Pink (BBC TV production).

Diogenes Club: First appears in the Conan Doyle story The Greek Interpreter Holmes’ brother Mycroft is a regular visitor, and its location is given as ‘just opposite his rooms’ on Pall Mall. In the BBC version, Diogenes is filmed at nearby 10 Carlton House Terrace, home to the British Academy.

St Bartholemew’s Hospital: The site of the dramatic scenes in the TV series where the detective falls to his apparent death from the roof of the hospital (BBC TV production).

Trafalgar Square: In the Blind Banker, Sherlock and John Watson walk between the southern side of the western fountain and Nelson’s Column before heading north up the steps towards the National Gallery (BBC TV production).

The Sherlock Holmes Museum: This privately run museum is said to be located at 221b Baker Street but actually between nos 237 and 241.  It is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 9:30pm to 6pm. Admission £10 adults, £8 children under 16.  Further details can be found at http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk/

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Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at The Museum of London: This exhibition successfully captures the spirit life on the street life of the capital county during the time when the novels were written.  The psychology of Sherlock is studied looking at the traits that make him such an unusual character.  There are original Holmes manuscripts, paintings (many revealing the heavy smogs prevalent at that time), drawings and original illustrations from early publications of Conan Doyle’s stories.  There are examples of early film/documentary footage and the coat worn by Beneditch Cumberbatch in the BBC TV production.  For further details, please visit the Museum of London website http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/

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