3rd July, 3 Comments
By John Watson
I have now managed to arrange and inspect some new quarters for myself. They consist of a couple of comfortable bedrooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows. If I told you that these are, in fact the very rooms that Holmes and I occupied I doubt that you would believe me for 221B Baker Street is, of course, not the actual address. As many have since pointed out, no such address existed at the time Holmes and I lived there. Baker Street (see map below), in the Marylebone district of north west London had, at the time, numbers 1 to 42 on the east side of the street, running from south to north, and numbers 44 to 85 on the west going south. There was no number 43 and no number 221. Its southern continuation, Orchard Street extended to Oxford Street. To the north it bore the names York Place and then Upper Baker Street before it reached Regent’s Park. [If you click on the map you may find the enlarged version easier to read.] In 1930, the entire length of the street (the lower part of Baker Street, York Place and Upper Baker Street) was renamed Baker Street and the houses were renumbered. Number 41 Upper Baker Street was redesignated 221 Baker Street but in the same year it was demolished to make way for Abbey House which eventually occupied 215-229 Baker Street, serving as the offices of the Abbey National Building Society. Almost immediately, the building society started receiving correspondence for Holmes from all over the world, in such volumes that it appointed a permanent “secretary to Sherlock Holmes” to deal with it. A bronze plaque on the front of Abbey House carried a picture of Holmes and a quotation, but was removed from the building several years ago. Its present whereabouts are unknown. There is, however, now such an address as 221B Baker Street, recognised even by the Post Office with a postcode! 221B Baker Street is now the address of the Sherlock Holmes Museum (the full address is 221B Baker Street, LONDON NW1 6XE though this is actually 239 Baker Street!)
But if you read The Empty House carefully and follow Holmes directions to Manchester Street and Blandford Street it should become clear to you that our house was much lower down on Baker Street than most people imagine.
Posted in 221B Baker Street