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19 Surprising Facts About Sherlock Holmes

It's elementary, really.

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The cinema juggernaut started to roll with the short silent film, Sherlock Holmes Baffled, dating from around 1900.

3. And John Watson might have been Ormand Stacker.

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Journals and notes exhibited at the Museum of London offer proof that both Holmes and Watson weren't initially in the cards for title roles in the detective serial.


Although one of the most compelling figures in the Holmes stories, he actually appears in only two - 'The Greek Interpreter' and 'The Bruce-Partington Plans' - and is referred to in just two others.


Published in 1892 [The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes] was the first collection of the detective's cases that had originally appeared in Strand Magazine and was dedicated to Doyle's 'old teacher' Joseph Bell, considered the inspiration or model for Holmes.

7. Sherlock began with a sentence fragment.

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The first ever lines Doyle wrote in relation to a Sherlock Holmes story were: 'The terrified woman rushing up to the cabman'.

The line is recorded in Doyle's Southsea Notebooks, on display at the Museum of London.

The majority of fans would immediately identify him by his cap and cape, but in the stories he only wore them for cases that took him to the country. Watson, however, never specifically identified the headgear as a deerstalker.


Everyone knows that Dr Watson is called John. So why, in 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', does his wife call him James?


Holmes never says 'Elementary, my dear Watson.' The closest he gets is in 'The Crooked Man' when after Watson cries ... 'Excellent!' Sherlock dryly replies, 'Elementary.'

Holmes solved hundreds of cases, including one ('The Bruce-Partington Plans') that earned him a private audience at Windsor with Queen Victoria from which he returned with a handsome emerald tiepin.


There has long been speculation that Mrs Hudson is Holmes' agent in the household of the German spy in 'His Last Bow', but quite why the author would use her in a story set in 1914 and fail to have either Holmes or Watson refer to her at any time as 'Mrs Hudson' as they have been doing since 1889 seems a mystery.'

Much speculation has been devoted in books and films to the possible genesis of the Holmes-Moriarty struggle.

Theory: Moriarty was a young Sherlock's maths tutor.
Source: Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street (W.S. Baring-Gould)

Theory: Moriarty had an affair with Sherlock's mother

Source: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (Nicholas Meyer)


16. A Study in Scarlet was a family affair.

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The initial standalone printing of Doyle's first Holmes novel is now on display in the Museum of London, and features six original illustrations by Doyle's father, Charles Altamont Doyle,.

[W]ithin two years he had grown so tired of Holmes that he decided the time had come to kill him off, complaining that it 'takes my mind from other things'.


In Holmes' time, Baker Street was short, barely over a quarter of a mile, and house numbers only got up to No. 85. In 1930, however, the entire length of the thoroughfare was renamed Baker Street, requiring a renumbering. A Georgian hous, No. 41 Upper Baker Street, was redesignated 221 Baker Street but was demolished the same year.

These facts are based on excepts from The Elementary Sherlock Holmes: Things You Didn't Know About Literature's Greatest Detective, published by Portico, and the current Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the Museum of London, 'Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die'.