At the time the Holmes stories were published, addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221. For many years, Abbey National employed a full-time secretary to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes.
In 1990, a blue plaque signifying 221B Baker Street was installed at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, situated elsewhere on the same block, and there followed a 15-year dispute between Abbey National and the Holmes Museum for the right to receive mail addressed to 221B Baker Street. Since the closure of Abbey House in 2005, ownership of the address by the Holmes Museum has not been challenged, despite its location between 237 and 241 Baker Street.
In his first manuscript, Conan Doyle put Holmes house in Upper Baker Street. However, a British crime novelist named Nigel Moorland claimed that, late in Conan Doyle's life, he identified the junction of Baker Street and George Street, about 500 meters south of the Marlene Road, as the location of 221B.
Shylockian experts have also held to alternative theories as to where the original 221B was located and have maintained that it was further down Baker Street. Almost immediately, the building society started receiving correspondence from Sherlock Holmes fans 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. In 1999, Abbey National sponsored the creation of a bronze statue of Sherlock Holmes that now stands at the entrance to Baker Street Underground station.
It displays exhibits in period rooms, wax figures and Holmes memorabilia, with the famous study overlooking Baker Street the highlight of the museum. The description of the house can be found throughout the stories, including the 17 steps leading from the ground-floor hallway to the first-floor study.
According to the published stories, “221B Baker Street” was a suite of rooms on the first floor of a lodging house above a flight of 17 steps. The main study overlooked Baker Street, and Holmes bedroom was adjacent to this room at the rear of the house, with Dr. Watson's bedroom being on the floor above, overlooking a rear yard that had a plane tree in it.
The street number 221B was assigned to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on 27 March 1990 (replacing the logical address 239 Baker Street) when the Leader of Westminster City Council, Shirley Porter, unveiled a blue plaque signifying the address of 221B Baker Street. A long-running dispute over the number arose between the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the building society Abbey National (which had previously answered the mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes) and subsequently the local Westminster City Council.
In 2005, Abbey National vacated their headquarters in Baker Street, which left the museum to battle with Westminster City Council to end the dispute over the number, which had created negative publicity. Eventually the museum was granted special permission by the City of Westminster to bear the address of 221B Baker Street.
Shooting the “221B Baker Street” exterior in North Power Street fictional address has been portrayed in the following pastiches of Sherlock Holmes : Private detective Louie Knight moves into an office at 22/1B Stryd-y-Popty (which translates as Baker Street in Welsh) in Malcolm Pryce's Welsh Noir parody The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth.
The 1987 CBS movie The Return of Sherlock Holmes (not to be confused with the 1986 British television series of the same name) features Holmes, cryogenically frozen in 1899 and awakened in modern times, trying to adapt with the aid of Watson's granddaughter, Jane. He seeks out his old residence and finds the spot occupied by a McDonald's franchise.
Danger Mouse, in the cartoon show of the same name, lives in a pillar box near 221b Baker Street. The pillar box is a stone's throw away from 221B Baker Street and Dr. Watson throws stones at them in apparent jealousy that he only works for the world's greatest detective, not the world's greatest secret agent in the episode “Where There's a Well, There's a Way”.
In the Phone Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, the detective Hon. Phone Fisher resides at 221 The Esplanade, St Kinda (Melbourne, Australia), which she renumbers to 221B in homage to Holmes.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data tells another crew member that George La Forge can be found at 221b Baker St, episode 29 Elementary, Dear Data (1988), and 221b Baker St. is again referenced in episode 137 “Ship in a Bottle” (1993). In the 2013 Season 2, Episode 1 of Elementary, Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson visit London and stay in a second floor residence numbered 221B.
In the 2015 film Mr. Holmes, a long-retired Holmes (Ian McAllen) remarks that the Baker Street address is one of several fictitious details created by Watson, who wrote the cases up as sensationalist stories for publication. In a flashback, as curious onlookers gather outside 221B, Holmes watches from a window of his actual residence nearby and congratulates a client for finding the right address.
The BBC Television series Sherlock has used 187 North Power Street to represent 221B Baker Street for shooting the exterior scenes of Sherlock Holmes flat. The location is near Huston railway station, and roughly a mile away from the real Baker Street.
In the 2012–2015 Australian television series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the title character of The Honorable Phone Fisher (Essie Davis) lives at 221B Baker Street in Melbourne, Victoria. ^ Conan Doyle, Arthur (1892), “A Scandal in Bohemia”, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, ISBN 978-0-7607-1577-2 (^ Conan Doyle, Arthur (1927), “The Problem of Thor Bridge”, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, ISBN 978-0-7195-3012-8.
^ Sherlock Holmes 101”, Washington Post, 11 January 2004 ^ Hardening, Max DE. “221b Baker Street and the president of Kazakhstan's daughter Daria Nazarbayeva and grandson Rural Alien”.
“Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: The Feminist Sherlock You Should Be Watching”. Doctor Strange introduced viewers to a different side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe they hadn’t seen before, one with a unique type of magic that included many spells, artifacts, and places, such as the Sanctum Sanatorium.
The one shown in the film is located in New York City, and Strange arrived there to protect it from Cecilius (Mads Michelsen), and has stayed there ever since. Doctor Strange revealed the address of the Sanctum Sanatorium, which sounds very similar to a certain place in London where a famous detective lived, making many believe that it was a reference to him, but it actually has a very different origin.
As mentioned above, the Sanctum Sanatorium is located in New York City, specifically in 177A Becker Street, which sounds a lot like Sherlock Holmes address in London. The Great Detective and his friend and partner Dr. John Watson lived in 221B Baker Street, which does sound similar to the Sanctum Sanatorium’s address.
Given that Benedict Cumberbatch plays both Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes, many viewers believed the address was a reference to Holmes, but it has nothing to do with it. In fact, the address of the Sanctum Sanatorium is that of a townhouse apartment shared by Marvel Comics writers Gary Friedrich and Roy Thomas back in the 1960s.
While they sound alike, it’s just a fun coincidence that they have a similar structure and that Cumberbatch has played both characters, and just like 221B Baker Street, Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanatorium has its own story. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the incomparable consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his intrepid assistant Doctor John Watson made their debut in A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887 in the pages of Beeton’s Christmas Annual.
From almost the day the Abbey National opened they began receiving letters from all over the world addressed to Mr. Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Such a profusion of letters were delivered that the bank’s public relations department found it necessary to employ a full-time secretary charged with responding to the urgent inquiries from those in need of Holmes’s unique deductive prowess (these inquiries were usually met with a response that the detective had retired to keep bees in Sussex).
By closely reading the texts, scholars have proposed multiple Baker Street addresses as a possible inspiration for the literary 221, yet there is no definitive answer. When the Baker Street flat is introduced in A Study in Scarlet, the rooms receive little attention other than the note that they meet the needs of Messes. Holmes and Watson and consist of “a couple of comfortable bed-rooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows.” There are other equally brief descriptions scattered throughout Holmes canon, but usually nothing more than a few words.
His possessions are in their usual places: his deerstalker, magnifying glass, calabash pipe, violin, chemistry equipment, notebook, Persian slipper and disguises.” In this sitting room, visitors will find the original wicker chair referenced by famed Holmes illustrator Sidney Page in his portrayal of the seated detective.
Just as the adventures of Holmes and Watson sometimes took them out of London to exotic locales around the world, the same holds true for their surprisingly mobile flat. Another replica of 221B Baker Street is located in The Sherlock Holmes Museum at Marine, Switzerland near the Reichenbach Falls, the site of the climactic final battle between Holmes and his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty.
The Marine Museum claims to have the largest collection of Holmes ephemera, as well as the most accurate reproduction of the famed sitting room, reconstructed by Tony Hewlett, former President of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and architect John Reid. There is another 221B replica at another Sherlock Holmes museum in Switzerland, an older one established in 1965 at a hotel in Lumens, which was frequently visited by Conan Doyle’s son.
Looking at the scattered newspapers, books, and teacups, one can imagine the detective springing up from his chair, hot on the heels of a suspect or following a new lead. Yet another 221B can be found across the ocean on the fourth floor of the Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota, which also has the distinct honor of being home to the world’s largest collection of ephemera related to Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle.
And then there are the myriad sets built for film and television, some of which loyally followed Conan Doyle’s text in the crafting. Visitors to Julia’s kitchen (though the exhibition is currently closed for renovation) get a sense for how she worked, how she lived, and what she was like as a person.
Timothy J. Johnson of the University of Minnesota explained one of the most important rules of the Game in a correspondence with a peer who was critical of his intent to create a “replica” of a fictional space: “According to the rules of the Game, Holmes is considered a real person, who has never died (no obituary having appeared in The Times), and Doyle is merely the ‘literary agent’…. One looks at all the descriptions of the room as provided in the stories and creates a replica.
There’s a whole little industry in the Comedian world that has spent time and ink describing the exact location of 221B Baker Street and the contents of the room.” So strongly do the Holmes stories resonate with our culture that we have manifested his home in our own reality, creating shrines and sites of pilgrimage across the world.
Every building and space is a manifestation of narratives that results from a confluence of theories, politics, cultural beliefs, pragmatic necessities and opinions.