Online Magazine for Learners of English as a Foreign Language

Who Lives at 221B Baker Street?

As any detective fan will tell you, 221b Baker Street is the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes. However, addresses in London’s Baker Street did not actually go as high as 221b when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first wrote his famous detective stories in the 1880s. It wasn’t until the 1930s, when Baker Street was extended northwards, that an actual 221b was built.

The real 221b Baker Street was first used by the Abbey National Building Society. Having a famous address wasn’t without its problems though. For many years, the Abbey National had to employ a secretary to deal with all the fan mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes that they received.

A second 221B arrived in the 1990s, when the Sherlock Holmes museum opened. Even though the museum is actually located between 237 and 241 Baker Steet, it has a blue plaque saying that it is 221B Baker Street, the former residence of Sherlock Holmes.

WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS

extend, verb, to make something longer
building society, noun [C], a type of bank
fan mail, noun [U], letters sent to a famous person by someone who really likes them
employ, verb, to pay someone to work for you
plaque, noun [C], a round piece of wood or metal, with writing on it, which is attached to a building to remember someone
former, adjective, happening or existing before, but not now

Picture: Elliott Brown via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0