1.5 Sherlock Holmes – true or false?

This month we decided to delve in the realms of London’s fictional past. What can the stories of Sherlock Holmes tell us about what life was really like in London in the 1890s? And more pertinently for this episode, which of these facts was completely fabricated by us for our own amusement?

We rummaged through a few of the infinite number of books and sources on the topic of S. Holmes, including:

  • A Sherlock Holmes Commentary by a fastidious person called D. Martin Dakin, who has undertaken to do things like count the streetlamps on old maps of Baker Street to determine where the famous 221B originally was.
  • Sherlock Holmes’s London by Rose Shepherd – this doubles as a tourist guide to London as well as a Sherlockian companion.
  • The British Library’s useful and erudite summaries of Sherlock and literary London.
  • We have bolted down every word of Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories (also available online for free as it’s out of copyright) and recommend that you do too (if you’re reading with kids, you might want to pre-read The Adventure of the Three Gables as it has racially offensive stuff). You can also listen to Stephen Fry’s excellent audiobook via audible.co.uk.
  • We went down some fascinating rabbit holes at VictorianWeb, including this well-sourced article on Victorian children.
  • Our crime data came from the government.

Main image from Wikimedia Commons and is by Sidney Paget.