|Thomas Bruce Wheeler
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1859-1930)
SHERLOCK HOLMES (1854-?)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 60 Sherlock Holmes adventures, four of them novels: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of the Four, A Study in Scarlet, and The Valley of Fear. The other 56 are short stories. They were published from 1890 to 1926, with stories taking place from 1874 to 1914.
Most people associate the Sherlock Holmes adventures with the Strand Magazine, but they were also published in Beeton's, Collier's, Lippincott's, and Liberty Magazines.
Except for two outliers, the Sherlock Holmes' adventures took place between 1874 and 1903. The Lion's Mane (1907),and His Last Bow (1914) occurred after Holmes had retired to Sussex. Conan Doyle brought Holmes back to London in His Last Bow, and reunited him with Dr. Watson.
As a practicing physician with few patients, Conan Doyle used his free time to create the "world's only private consulting detective". The adventures, illustrated by Sidney Paget, were an immediate success. There are two adventures that mentioned no London sites: The Adventure of Three Students and The Adventure of the Lion's Mane. My retirement hobby has been to identify as many London sites as possible (400 to date), in the remaining 58 adventures.
MY HUNT FOR THE LONDON OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Finding Sherlock's London (200 Sites) - 2003
New Finding Sherlock's London (300 sites) - 2009
"Of the dozen or so guides to Sherlock Holmes's London, there are two that I recommend to (London) visitors: Arthur Alexander's Hot on the Scent and Thomas Wheeler's Finding Sherlock's London."
Editor, The Sherlock Holmes Journal
THE LONDON OF SHERLOCK HOLMES - 2011
MX PUBLISHING, LONDON--NEW YORK
“Thomas Bruce Wheeler has devoted much time and energy to researching our capital city. After 2009’s admirable The New Finding Sherlock’s London comes The London of Sherlock Holmes...(which) updates the earlier book to a degree that no other guide, I think, has seriously considered...As a step-by-step guide to the London of the Canon, it’s unbeatable.”
Roger Johnson, 2011
Editor, The Sherlock Holmes Journal
Why "unbeatable"? It is the use of Internet hyperlinks in the e-book version, as demonstrated in finding the location of
221B Baker Street
The exact location of 221B has long been a puzzle to Sherlock Holmes fans because, in Sherlock’s day, Baker Street only extended north from Oxford Street to Crawford/Paddington Streets, with no house numbers above 85. In the 1930’s Baker Street was extended to the north to include the former York Place and Upper Baker Street. At that point, there was a 221 Baker Street. Letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes were delivered to The Abbey National Building Society, which occupied an office block at 215-229 Baker Street. They hired a full-time Secretary to Sherlock Holmes, who answered all of his correspondence. In 1990, Abbey National vacated their Baker Street property, and the Westminster City Council assigned the 221B postal address to the nearby Sherlock Holmes Museum. The Museum took over the role of answering Sherlock’s correspondence, and a Sherlock Holmes Blue Plaque was awarded to the building. The Museum’s ground floor has a memorabilia gift shop, and the upper floors are furnished as Conan Doyle described Holmes’ and Watson’s lodgings. It is an excellent place to start your search for the London of Sherlock Holmes.
THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conon Doyle tired of Sherlock Holmes and in 1893 published The Adventure of the Final Problem, in which Sherlock and Watson fled to Europe to escape Moriarty and his thugs. Thru a ruse, Watson was called back to their small Swiss hotel, while Sherlock stayed at the Reichenbach Falls. There he was confronted by Moriarty, and the two, in a deadly embrace, went off the ledge to their deaths. When Watson returned, he found Sherlock's farewell note, which Moriarty had given Sherlock time to write.
There was such a public outcry over the death of Sherlock Holmes, that Conon Doyle was forced to explain away his alleged death, and bring him back to London. This happened in The Adventure of the Empty House, which reunited Holmes and Watson in a hansom cab, traveling a circuitous route from the North East corner of Cavendish Square, to "a narrow passage" behind an empty house. We have identified the narrow passage as Kendall Place, then known as Kendall Mews. Along the way, Holmes got out of the cab at every corner to make sure they were not being followed. In 1894, their destination was the vacant Camden House. It was from there that they expected Colonel Sebastian Moran would try to make his deadly shot to kill Sherlock.
The jack-arched Camden House is still there at No. 32-34 Baker Street. As indicated by Conan Doyle's narrative and Paget's illustration, the true location of "221B" was directly across the street at today's No. 31 Baker Street. We can even tell, from Paget's illustration that Holmes and Watson were standing in one of the Camden House's first floor (what North Americans call the second floor) rooms. Holmes had placed a wax target dummy of himself at 221B, moved occasionally by Mrs. Hudson, who had to crawl on the floor to do so.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Hudson's famous townhouse is no longer there, having being replaced by a modern office block. Today, you can still enter "221B", but if you do, you will have to order either salads, wraps, smoothies, soups, or a combination thereof.
Some of the 400 Sherlock Holmes street view photos in the e-book version of
The London of Sherlock Holmes
ALPHA INN, MUSEUM STREET: In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Alpha Inn was located “at the corner of one of the street which ran down into Holborn”. Some of the Inn’s regulars, including Henry Baker, formed a goose club. By contributing a few pence each week, they each received a Christmas, goose. It was Henry Baker’s luck to receive the goose with the blue carbuncle.
Where was The Alpha Inn? There are two candidates. The best known is the Museum Tavern, across the street from the British Museum, on the corner of Museum and Great Russell Streets. The second candidate is The Plough, on the corner of Museum and Little Russell Streets. The late Bernard Davies made a persuasive argument for The Plough being the Alpha Inn by the following logic: Alfred George Gardiner, an author contemporary with Conan Doyle, used the pseudonym "Alpha of the Plough". This stood for the first star of the constellation Ursa Major, commonly known in the as The Big Dipper in the US, and as The Plough in Britain. The Public House was named for the constellation, with its original signboard displaying an arrangement of golden stars, including a predominate Alpha.
BOODLE’S, ST. JAMES’S STREET: On their way back to Baker Street, in The Adventure of the Three Gables, Holmes told Watson, “This is a case for Langdale Pike”. Pike spent his waking hours in the bow window of a St. James's gentleman’s club, gathering London gossip. That men's club was Boodle's, and its famous bow window is still there on St. James’s Street.
BOW STREET POLICE COURT: Inspector Bradstreet was on duty in the Bow Street Police Court when Holmes and Watson arrived in The Man with the Twisted Lip. They asked to see Hugh Boone. Holmes brought a large bath-sponge with him, and proceeded to unmask Boone as Neville St. Clair.
BRITISH MUSEUM, GREAT RUSSELL STREET; The British Museum is in four Sherlock Holmes adventures. In addition to a mention in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, the Museum played a significant role in three adventures. In The Mystery of the Musgrave Ritual, where the Museum’s famous Reading Room was where young Sherlock studied those branches of science, which would later make him so efficient. In The Adventure of the Hound of the Baskerville's, Holmes told Watson, that Stapleton had been a schoolmaster in the North of England, and the British Museum considered him a recognized authority of entomology. Finally, in The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge, ,Holmes went to the British Museum to consult Eckermann’s book on “Voodooism".
COVENT GARDEN: During The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, Breckinridge had a goose stand in Covent Garden. The goose with the famous gem in its crop was among the two dozen sold to the Alpha Inn Public House. Holmes used trickery to get Breckinridge to tell where he had purchased the geese.
P.S. You might recognize this view from the opening set in the movie My Fair Lady.
COX & COMPANY (site), CRAIG'S COURT: During The Problem of Thor Bridge, Watson revealed that, “in the vaults of…Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch box with my name…painted upon the lid”. The box was crammed with records of Sherlock’s unrecorded cases, including the tale of The Giant Rat of Sumatra.
GREAT ORMOND (ORME) STREET: In The Adventure of the Red Circle, the Warren's lived in a "High thin yellow-brick edifice" (perhaps now painted blue) at Great Orme Street (now identified as Great Ormond Street). Mrs. Warren consulted Sherlock Holmes about her new lodger and his strange behavior. He had offered to pay a generous five pounds a week, but insisted he must have his own key, and must never be disturbed. Mrs. Warren became concerned when, except for the first night, he never left his room, and only ate when food was left on a chair by his door. At one point the lodger had asked that a copy of the Daily Gazette be delivered each day.
Holmes suspected that the paper's agony column was the way in which the lodger was receiving messages. In the columns since the lodger arrived, Holmes found several cryptic messages, all signed by the letter "G". The latest read, "High red house with white stone facings, third floor, second window left", after dusk, G". North American readers should remember that what the British call the third floor is what we call the fourth floor.
CRITERION GRILL, PICCADILLY: In A Study in Scarlet, Watson made up his mind to move out of his Strand hotel. He went to The Criterion Bar, where he met young Stamford. After lunch, Stamford introduced Watson to Holmes at St. Bart's Hospital.
HOLBORN BAR: In The Adventure of the Three Gables, Steve Dixie, the Black bruiser, charged into Baker Street to threaten Holmes. Dixie’s attitude changed when Holmes mentioned the killing of young Perkins outside the Holborn Bar. The Holborn Bar is near the junction of High Holborn and Grays Inn Road. There, two stone obelisks, topped by griffins, mark the boundary of the City of London. In other words, “outside the Holborn Bar” means outside the City, near the Holborn Bar.
LYCEUM THEATER, WELLINGTON STREET: In The Sign of the Four, Mary Morstan received a strange letter, and went to Baker Street to consult Holmes. The letter instructed her to be, “At the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre tonight at seven o’clock”. She went, with Holmes and Watson.
ODEON THEATRE, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE: The Odeon was originally the Seville Theatre, which opened in 1931. From 1965 to 1970, it was famous for rock concerts. On the side of the building is a frieze by Gilbert Bayes. It contains London’s oldest sculpture of Sherlock Holmes, (and perhaps Moriarty).
POPPINS (POPE’S) COURT: In The Red-Headed League, Duncan Ross advertised for all redheaded men in London to apply at the offices of the Red-headed League at No. 7 Pope’s Court, just off Fleet Street. The described location indicates that “Pope's Court” is Poppins Court.
ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS, LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS: Before leaving Paddington Station in The Hound of the Baskerville's mystery, Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry had been together the whole time in London, except for Friday afternoon, when Dr. Mortimer went to visit the College of Surgeons Museum.
SCOTLAND YARD: The Norman Shaw Buildings, between Whitehall and Victoria Embankment, near Westminster Bridge, is the Scotland Yard Sherlock knew. It was first occupied in 1890 when the modern CID was established.
SHERLOCK HOLMES PUB: Although not mentioned in the Canon, The Sherlock Holmes Pub is a Mecca for Sherlock Holmes fans. In addition to traditional pub grub and drinks, they have a decent upstairs restaurant. Be sure to see the glassed-in replica of the 221B Baker Street sitting room, moved here from its 1951 Festival of Britain venue.
SIMPSON’S IN THE STRAND, THE STRAND: Watson called Simpson’s “our Strand restaurant”. Simpson’s figured in two Sherlock Holmes adventures. In The Adventure of the Dying Detective, after fasting for three days to feign illness, Holmes told Watson, “Something nutritious at Simpson’s would not be out of place”. In The Adventure of the Illustrious Client, Watson joined Holmes at Simpson’s and was told, “Johnson is on the prowl”. Holmes was referring to Shinwell Johnson, who before he began assisting Holmes, had been a dangerous villain.
427 [sic] PARK LANE: In The Adventure of the Empty House, The Honorable Ronald Adair lived near the Oxford Street end of Park Lane, with his mother and sister Hilda. Ronald, the second son of the Earl of Maynooth, had been found shot in his bedchamber after an evening of whist. Strangely, the room was locked from the inside, and no shot had been heard. Watson strolled to the scene, to see if he could use some of his departed friend's methods to solve the murder. While there, he bumped into an old bibliophile, not realizing it was Sherlock in disguise. Later, when Sherlock revealed himself, the old comrades reunited to capture Colonel Sebastian Moran, and solve another mystery.
STANFORD’S (STAMFORD’S), LONG ACRE: While solving The Hound of the Baskerville's mystery, Holmes sent to Stamford’s[sic], the Covent Garden map shop, for a large-scale Ordnance map of that portion of the moor containing Baskerville Hall. Stanford’s famous old map shop, founded in 1852, is still in business.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S (ST. BART’S) HOSPITAL: In A Study in Scarlet, Young Stamford introduced Watson to Holmes in St. Bart’s chemical laboratory. They were both looking for someone to share lodging cost for a place Sherlock had found at 221B Baker Street.
THEATRE ROYAL HAYMARKET: During The Adventure of the Retired Colourman, Josiah Amberley told Watson how he pampered his wife by purchasing two upper circle seats at the Haymarket Theater the night she ran off. He said his wife complained of a headache, and did not go to the theatre. Amberley showed Watson the unused ticket for seat B-31. Later, Holmes found that seat numbers B-30 and B-32 had not been sold that night.
THE LITTLE DOOR: In His Last Bow, there were two small doors on the Carlton House Terrace Steps. The western most door was next to the German Embassy. After receiving Navel Signals from Altamont, Von Bork was to put them through that "little door". When Von Bork wrote Altamont a check and examined the package, he found instead, a book titled: Practical Handbook of Bee Culture. In that instant, Watson, who had come as Altamont’s chauffeur, held a chloroformed sponge to Von Bork’s face. The double-agent Altamont, was of course, Sherlock Holmes. At the end of the adventure, Holmes returned to Claridge's, saved off his goatee, and reappeared as himself. This is the only hotel in London today, where Holmes was a guest.
THE STRAND MAGAZINE (site), BURLEIGH STREET: London’s Strand Magazine published most of the Sherlock Holmes adventures. The magazine was launched in January 1891, and published their last Sherlock Holmes adventure in 1911 (The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax).
TRAFALGAR SQUARE FOUNTAIN: In The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, Inspector Lestrade told Holmes about dragging the Serpentine Lake for Hatty Doran’s body. Holmes laughed and asked if he was also dragging the Trafalgar Square Fountain, “Because you have just as good a chance of finding this lady in the one as in the other”.
New Generation Travel Books
from Barnes & Noble, and Amazon
EXERPTS FROM LONDON GPS PUB GUIDE
HREF="http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub-food/adam-eve-westminster/pid-C0600" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor ADAM & EVE: 81 PETTY FRANCE—SW2: Tel. 44-20-7222-4575. [GPS ADDRESS: HREF="http://maps.google.com/?q=51.499533,-0.135591" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor 51.499533,-0.135591]. This pub’s one drawback is the crowd of office and government workers that converge after work and at lunch. Go in the off-hours. Underground Station: St James’s Park
HREF="http://www.timeout.com/london/bars/venue/2%3A20106/admiral-duncan" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor ADMIRAL DUNCAN, THE: 53 OLD COMPTON STREET—W1: Tel. 44-20-7437-5300. [GPS ADDRESS: HREF="http://maps.google.com/?q=51.512832,-0.132244" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor 51.512832,-0.132244]. The Admiral Duncan is a gay pub in the heart of Soho. It is very busy on Saturday night. Be prepared to stand, there is no seating. Underground Station: Leicester Square
HREF="http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub-food/albert-victoria/pid-C6737?utm_source=g-places&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=pubs" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor ALBERT, THE: 52 VICTORIA STREET—SW1: Tel. 44-20-7222-5577. [GPS ADDRESS: HREF="http://maps.google.com/?q=51.497656,-0.135698" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor 51.497656,-0.135698] The Albert pub was built in 1864 on the site of the earlier Bluecoat Boy Pub. Members of Parliament often dine there, and for their convenience, a division bell has been installed. Underground Station: St James’s Park
EXERPTS FROM LONDON'S WEST END THEATRES
ADELPHI THEATRE: 411-412 The Strand—WC2: Tel. +44-844-579-0094: [GPS ADDRESS: 51.513016,-0.11845]. Although there was a theatre on this site in 1806, a venue with the current name opened in 1819. After several iterations, the modern Adelphi re-opened in 1930 with a seating capacity of 1,200 on three levels. Both the Stall and Dress Circle areas have a center isle, with seats numbered 18 and 19 on either side. UNDERGROUND STATION: Charing Cross
AMBASSADORS THEATRE: 11 West Street—WC2: Tel. +44-844-811-2334: [GPS ADDRESS: 51.511111,-0.127222]. The Ambassadors opened in 1913, and in 1936 introduced the 22 year old Vivien Leigh to London’s West End. Britain’s longest running production, The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie, played here from 1952 to 1973 when it moved to the larger St. Martin’s Theatre. The Ambassadors is one of London’s smallest theatres, with a seating capacity of 195 in the Dress Circle, and 251 in the Stalls. UNDERGROUND STATION: Leicester Square
EXERPTS FROM FAMOUS LONDONER'S...
Sir Winston Churchill (1847 - 1965): Caxton Hall, Caxton Street, SW1, GPS [51.498605,-0.134947]
John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher (1841 - 1920): 16 Queen Anne's Gate, SW1, GPS [51.510322,-0.15509]
William Ewart Gladstone (1809 - 1898): Caxton Hall, Caxton Street, SW1, GPS [51.498578,-0.134926]
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon (1862 - 1933): 3 Queen Anne's Gate, SW1, GPS [51.500554,-0.131928]
Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane (1856 - 1928): 28 Queen Anne's Gate, SW1, GPS [51.500534,-0.133023]
T. E. Lawrence (1888 - 1935): 14 Barton Street, SW1, GPS [51.497419,-0.128063]
Eleanor Rathbone (1872 - 1946): Tufton Court, Tufton Street, SW1, GPS [51.496509,-0.128243]
Interactive London Travel Maps
HOW TO FIND GOOD VALUE HOTELS IN LONDON
THOMAS BRUCE WHEELER
The London of Sherlock Holmes, The Black Book of London Secrets, London GPS Pub Guide, Sherlock Holmes's Private Address Book, Internet Guide to What's Currently Showing in London's West End Theatres, and GPS and Internet Guide to Famous Londoners and their Blue Plaques
London hotels are notoriously expensive. Four and five star hotels ask for roughly $200 to $500 per night. However, there is a way to get these rooms at a significant discount. This is because hotel rooms, like airline seats, are perishable. If you do not sell them today, you can not put them back into inventory and sell them tomorrow. The way to find these bargains is through Priceline.com®, where you bid what you are willing to pay, and the hotels can accept or reject your bid. Many hotels would rather accept a low bid than have an empty room.
In the past thirty-five years, I have visited London many times. In my experience, hotels in the West End, are the best for most London visitors, especially those hunting for the London of Sherlock Holmes. The following map shows which West End hotels may respond to your Priceline bid. Priceline allows you to narrow your search to specific areas of town, and hotel star ratings within that area. My map shows only four and five star hotels in two West End areas - Mayfair/Soho, and Bloomsbury/Marble Arch. I suggest you start your bidding on hotels in Mayfair/Soho.
The map below shows only a sample of the hotels the complete interactive map you will show if you click on the map's title. Once you are connected to the full Internet map, a click on a hotel's marker will display a tag that links to that hotel's Google + page. These pages show the hotel's asking rate, pictures, and customer reviews. One thing to remember, there is at least a 20% tax & fee add-on. This add-on will apply to the hotel's asking rate, as well as the price you will pay with a winning bid. Most of that add-on is for the government's 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT).
Make sure you understand how Priceline works. Your bid, if accepted, will buy non-refundable pre-paid room nights. However, Priceline does offer extra cost medical cancellation coverage. If you have general travel insurance, you might want to check on what it does, and does not cover. Remember, you can not select a particular hotel. Your bid will be sent to all participating hotels in the area(s) and star ranking(s) you have selected. When one of these hotels accepts your bid, you have bought your room nights. My map will allow you to preview all participating hotels in the two popular West End areas. The banners on the left side of the map lists these hotels, with a turn on, turn off box. After buying your hotel room, go online to the home page of the company that owns the hotel and join their frequent guest program. It may help with any problems at check-in, or with getting perks, such as free Internet access.
POSSIBLE PRICELINE® RESPONDING 4 & 5 STAR HOTELS IN LONDON
Thomas Bruce Wheeler