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Monday, October 29, 2012

Baker Street: 2012 vs. 1948

Statue of the Master outside Baker Street Underground Station

What a difference a few generations makes!

Vincent Starrett's Sherlock Alive, edited and marvelously annotated by Karen Murdock, contains a description of Baker Street that appeared under the pseudonym Shandy Gaff in The Chicago Daily Tribune column "A Line O'Type or Two" on April 24, 1948.

It says, in part:
The irrepressible Langdale Pike, with his theories and deductions concerning the activities of Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, casts a sinister shadow over that innocent thoroughfare and makes a stranger to that spot in London regard it as a hotbed of intrigue and mystery. Yet if you walked down Baker Street today searching for signs of Sherlock Holmes you were be disillusioned.

For this busy little street that leads from Oxford Street to Marylebone is devoid of drama. You'll search in vain for Sherlock's home; the number 221B is not known.  (p. 110)

Now, of course, the number 221B hang outside the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Although not the original 221B, it has that number now. And it is a house that dates back to 1815.

Just as importantly, the Baker Street Underground Station is lavishly illustrated with images of Sherlock Holmes, and one emerging from that station immediately sees a huge statue of Holmes.

Disillusioned searching for signs of Sherlock Holmes? Not in 2012!

Images of Holmes inside Baker Street Underground Station

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