Above: The black door of ‘221b Baker Street’ and sandwich shop in North Gower Street.
If you are familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories then you will know that Holmes rented rooms on the first floor of 221b Baker Street. The stories have been dramatised on film and on television many times. The most memorable on TV being with Jeremy Brett playing Holmes. Sadly he died before all the stories could be dramatised although a good proportion were completed.
Of recent years the television series ‘Sherlock’ has brought a new twist to the original stories, basing the plot of each episode loosely on an original title but with all the action set in the 21st century. Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who acts the part as if very little had changed from the turn of the 1900s when the original stories were penned. Some things have changed however with Holmes now travelling by taxi instead to Hansom cab. In the original stories he was always sending or receiving telegrams but now he now has a mobile phone. He also does not need to read through the columns of the Times newspaper to find out what is going on because now he can find the information on his laptop.
Above: Copyright photo of Cumberbatch dressed as Holmes standing in front of the real door which has been modified for the television series.
The famous duo of Holmes and Watson are still living at 221b Baker Street but times have moved on from the Edwardian era. Only the door leads into a stairway up to the first floor. The rest of the ground floor of their residence is now a modern sandwich shop. The actual 221b Baker Street address has not existed for many decades, being replaced by a large office block. The television series needed a suitable building for the famous address and it uses a doorway in a facade in North Gower Street — a street just west of Euston Station. It is not really near Baker Street but it has the same late Georgian look to the terrace that is essential for the stories. It is easy enough to find the street where they televise the exterior shots of the house but what comes as quite a surprise is that the sandwich shop on the ground floor of their residence in the series is a sandwich shop in real life. It actually trades under the same name as is seen in the television series. It has the excellent name of ’Speedy’s’.