The detective Sherlock Holmes, is a fictional character created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). Unknown to many, Sherlock Holmes was originally going to be called Sherrinford but this was altered to Sherlock. The author, Sir Arthur Doyle was a fan of cricket, and some argue the name Sherlock came from a cricketer who bore this name.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1914)
1887 is the first time the character appeared in print. A Study in Scarlet was written by Doyle at the age of 27 in just three weeks, however, this was a flop and did not prove popular.
Study in Scarlet Front Cover (1887)
The second Sherlock Holmes novel was a result of a dinner party in 1889 where Doyle was convinced to write a serialisation in a magazine. Oscar Wilde, who was also present at the dinner, also agreed to wrtie a novel for the magazine which resulted in The Picture of Dorian Gray which appeared in 1890, the same year as Doyle’s novel, The Sign of Four.
The popularity of Sherlock Holmes reached new heights when it appeared in The Strand Magazine as a series of short stories. It eventually totalled four novels and 56 short stories. These stories are narrated by the character of Holmes's friend Dr. John H. Watson, who shares quarters with Holmes at 221B Baker Street, London, and who often accompanies Holmes during his investigations.
The Strand Magazine (1917)
By the 1990s, there were already over 25,000 stage adaptations, films, television productions and publications featuring the detective. Sherlock Holmes is sited as being the most portrayed literary human character in film and television history in the Guinness World Records. IMDb (Internet Movie Database) states Homes has appeared in 226 films. This is only topped by Dracula who has been filmed 239 times. However, since Dracular is only part man (as he is part vampire), this secures Sherlock Holmes as being the most filmed human figure!
Sherlock Holmes Illustration by Sidney Page (1904)
The Georgian town house built in 1815, which now is home to The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London, opened in 1990. It is a private museum and is the world's first museum dedicated to the character Sherlock Holmes. The building was formerly a boarding house between 1860 and 1936. Although the building lies between the numbers 237 and 241, it bears the number 221B by permission of the City of Westminster.