A good friend of mine, Bonnie MacBird, and I took a London Walking Tour called Sherlock Holmes & The Redheaded League led by Robin Rowles. During this two hours stroll we were guided through outstanding and outré locations as we followed in the fictional footsteps of the Great Detective in order to pin down the real and probable locations which may have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s story. During this walk we stumbled upon many other Sherlockian connections in regards to the original stories and the film and television adaptations.
“Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind,” – Jabez Wilson in The Adventure of the Redheaded League. Knowledge was incredibly important to the Victorians and places like St Bride were where people would come to study further and increase their knowledge. It also served as a way of getting youths off the streets.
Just to the left is St. Bride’s Church, as known as the wedding cake church due to it’s influence as the design for the traditional wedding cake.
Poppins Court – A possible location for the fictional Pope’s Court, where Jabez Wilson would have applied at and worked for the Redheaded League.
The Old Bailey! Many will know this historic building. Long ago, for a fun day out, the general public would gather outside, crowding the streets, to watch public executions. It is also where Jim Moriarty is tried in Series 2 of Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall.
St. Barts is where Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson meet for the first time in A Study in Scarlet. Within the vicinity of the hospital is The Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great. Inside the church Guy Ritchie filmed the opening sequence for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law. The church’s sanctuary served as a stand in for the crypt meant to be beneath St Paul Cathedral no more than a 10 minute walk away.
You can see gashes in the stones of St Barts. All around this section of the city are remnants from London’s extensive bombings which include the Zeppelin raid in 1916 and further World War II bombings from 1940-45. The effects of the Great War certainly had an impact on Conan Doyle’s writing. In 1917 Conan Doyle published ‘His Last Bow’ in which Sherlock Holmes has turned spy in 1914.
Around the corner of St Barts we have the iconic scenery where Sherlock stood on the hospital’s ledge before he plummets to his ‘death’ in series 2 finale of Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall.
Along the walk we pass Charterhouse Square where evidence has been found that the area was used as a burial pit for those who died from the Black Death. It is also here that you have Florin Courtwhich served as the residence for Agatha Christie’s detective: Poirot.
These were a few of the wonderful locations that we saw on this tour. It was rich in both literary and historical information. You learn a great deal about Conan Doyle and the London of Sherlock Holmes as you tread the streets where Holmes and Watson would have gone on their adventure to understand who the Redheaded League are and the role Jabez Wilson had in their plot.
For further Sherlockian reading checkout Bonnie MacBird’s website HERE where you’ll find lots of interesting things plus information regarding her upcoming Sherlock Holmes novel: Art in the Blood!