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Baker Street

Author: SherlockExtra - Translator: Revati

Everyone knows the address of the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes: 221 B Baker Street, London. He hires a flat here, together with dr. Watson. The consulting detective lives on the first floor, while the doctor lodges on the second. Their landlady is Mrs. Hudson, who always exclaims against calling her a housekeeper in the BBC series.

The king of detectives uses his home as an office and as a laboratory. He greets his clients in his living-room, and it is the very place where he stores his criminal register. Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes tests his disguises in the living-room. Naturally there are cases which Sherlock solves while sitting at home. In addition, when a hot-tempered visitor arrives and attacks the sleuth, his flat changes to battlefield. Holmes meets his enemy, Professor James Moriarty at Baker Street for the first time. This is their first confrontation, which is a duel of tense words: a true intellectual and moral fight.

Conan Doyle gives no complete description of Sherlock’s home, we only get details from the various adventures. Thanks to this kind of mysticism the detective’s place is different in every adaptation. Filmmakers sometimes do not pay attention to the proper use of the deerstalker, but luckily the flat is stylish most of the time.

The Strand Magazine published the plan of 221 B Baker Street in its special issue in 1950, based on the pictures of the famous Holmes illustrator, Sidney Paget – though it slightly differs from the descriptions found in Doyle’s novels. The following picture was made by Ernest H. Short:

Baker Street 221b ground-plan

By clicking on the picture you can see a larger version of it.

Finally it was the American artist, Russell Stutler who created a plan faithful to the idea of Doyle. Before he started working, Stutler read all Sherlock stories twice, and during the sessions of drawing he improved the results according to the records of Conan.

It took Stutler 13 years to finish his enormous job (he started in 1995 and completed the drawing in 2008). His artwork is at present the most faithful portrayal of Sherlock’s home.

Baker Street 221b floor plan

New version - 2022:

Baker Street 221b floor plan

By clicking on the picture you can see a larger version of it.

It is a well-known fact that 17 stairs lead to the flat of Holmes. Conan Doyle’s famous detective is a master of making mess. Maybe his motto is that only fools keep their things in order, geniuses reign over chaos. He can distinguish his files by the thickness of dust covering them.

Watson describes the home of his friend as follows:

„But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it. Our chambers were always full of chemicals and of criminal relics which had a way of wandering into unlikely positions, and of turning up in the butter-dish or in even less desirable places. But his papers were my great crux.” (The Musgrave Ritual)

Holmes uses his London home till he retires from the profession of the consulting detective – after that he moves to the lovely countryside of Sussex for keeping bees.

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221 B Baker Street in the different adaptations:

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Basil Rathbone: Sherlock Holmes

Basil Rathbone Baker Street

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Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch Baker Street

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Jonny Lee Miller: Elementary

Jonny Lee Miller Baker Street

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Vasily Livanov: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Vasily Livanov Baker Street

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Rupert Everett: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking

Rupert Everett Baker Street

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Peter Cushing: Sherlock Holmes

Peter Cushing Baker Street

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Christopher Plummer: Murder by Decree

Christopher Plummer Baker Street

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Charlton Heston: The Crucifer of Blood

Charlton Heston Baker Street

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Robert Downey: Sherlock Holmes

Robert Downey Baker Street

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Jeremy Brett: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Jeremy Brett Baker Street

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Click here to see the floor plans: 221 B Baker Street floor plan

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Recommended site:

The fireplace at Baker Street

Sherlock Holmes pipe

The deerstalker of Sherlock Holmes

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Actors who played Sherlock Holmes:

Sherlock Holmes actors

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