Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Baker Street, London (facts and fictions)

First, as a follow up to my previous posting, and as a way of fulfilling a promise (to Fred and others), here is some information about 221B Baker Street that you might be interested in knowing:

221B Baker Street was the residence of Sherlock Holmes (and, for a while, Dr. John Watson) from the beginning (c. 1880s) until approximately 1903. 

Located in the West End of London, Baker Street was laid out in the 18th century and named for Sir Edward Baker (1763-1825). About five blocks long, the street had buildings numbered consecutively, south to north, from 1 to 42 on the east side, and southward from 44 to 85 on the west side. There was no 221, so the Holmes address was a fiction.

However, sometime in the 1930s, Baker Street was reconfigured and the buildings were renumbered. This resulted in an actual 221 Baker Street, which was for a time the home of a firm called Abbey National. The company for many years employed someone to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Whether or not that peculiar arrangement continues, I have not been able to discover. Perhaps someone else knows more facts.

Today, of course, 221 Baker Street has become a tourist destination (and trap). 

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Now that I have served up some tiny (boring?) trivia about 221B Baker Street, I wish to make a more extensive announcement about my Holmes-Watson-Doyle reading and blogging plans; however, that announcement will have to wait until later today or perhaps tomorrow. How is that for a cliff-hanger? Stay tuned.


  1. I'm glad you mention the actual location, Tim. I think place and atmosphere figure importantly in Conan Doyle's work. One day I'd like to take one of the Baker Street tours in London. In the meantime, I await your next announcement.

    1. Margot, I am going to commit a heresy against crime-detective-mystery fiction by saying this: I read A Study in Scarlet again last night, and I believe it might be among the most boring things I have read in a long, long time; this critical opinion, according to some observers, might say more about my mind than about the Holmes story, but I stand by my long overdue realization that Doyle's writing is over-rated, boring, and not worth my time. How is that for heresy!

    2. That's the thing, Tim. Just because a writer has been very influential doesn't mean that writer is for everyone.

  2. Tim,

    Thanks for the information about the address.

    Since " Doyle's writing is over-rated, boring, and not worth my time," I guess this will be your last post on Doyle.

  3. Study in Scarlet is pretty universally regarded as his worst effort; but, trust me, he was just getting warmed up... the others, mostly, are much much better...