Thanks to Pen and Sword for giving me a copy of this to review.
I’ve only read the Sherlock Holmes novels once, but I loved them, and this book certainly wants to make me read them again. I’m eyeing up the beautiful Wordsworth editions I have to admit. I’ve been to London quite a few times, where many of the Sherlock Holmes stories are set, but I didn’t think about the places I visited and how they tied into the stories, nor did I realise that Sherlock visited quite so many familiar places!
This book is set out as a series of walks around London, taking in locations frequented by Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle as well. It gives you the backstory to Conan Doyle and how he came to write the books. Sherlock Holmes is such an iconic character in literature and it’s really interesting to find out which places were actually real, and which were fictitious, with Conan Doyle mixing up the two seamlessly.
I don’t know what I expected from this book; I guess I thought that there wouldn’t be quite as much detail linking the London we know today with stories based in Victorian London. Browning tells you exactly where to go and what was there in the days of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, and there is a surprising amount that doesn’t really seem to have changed.
I loved the appendices at the back as well, with lists of the stories in chronological order, lists of the actors who have played Sherlock Holmes on screen and a miscellany. A must have for any fan of Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Creation of His ‘most notorious character’, Sherlock Holmes
London: Where it all began – a walk in Baker Street and immediate area
London: A Walk along Northumberland Avenue, up the Strand, Fleet Street and on to St Paul’s Cathedral
London: Walking along Oxford Street, Regent Street, around Piccadilly Circus and into Haymarket
London: Around Tottenham Court Road and into Holborn and Covent Garden
London: At the centre of Government – a walk in Westminster and Victoria
London: Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall and Mayfair
London: A Walk around the City and East End
Walks and Trips elsewhere … in London; in the UK as a Whole
Looking around my study I have quite a few things that I’ve collected or been given over the years since I started researching (or became obsessed with!) the Tudors.
Check out some gift ideas for that Tudor-lover in your life, or just to treat yourself if the mood takes you!
One thing that I have that I particularly love are my Tudor rubber ducks – I have Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which were a Birthday present from my sister, and William Shakespeare, which was a lovely surprise from a good friend left on my desk at work after I handed in my Masters’ dissertation.
The Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn rubber ducks can be ordered from Hever Castle, and the Shakespeare one can be ordered direct from the manufacturer at Yarto, or there is a slightly different one sold by the RSC. Of course you can explore the rest Hever Castle’s shop online as there are plenty of gorgeous things you can give as gifts, particularly if you love Anne Boleyn.
This is a post which I compiled last year: it includes the dates and consorts of all English and British monarchs. I was intending to also list children but haven’t yet got around to it. I’ll update the post at a later time.
(Becomes Great Britain under the reign of Queen Anne 1702 – 1714)
(Becomes United Kingdom under the reign of George III 1760 – 1820)
William I (1066 – 1087) … Consort – Matilda of Flanders
William II (1087 – 1100) … Consort – None
Henry I (1100 – 1135) … Consort – Matilda of Scotland / Adeliza of Louvain
Stephen (1135 – 1141) … Consort – Matilda of Boulogne
Empress Matilda (1141) … Consort – Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor / Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
History nowadays seems to be more focused on the opinions of historians rather than the cold hard facts of history. I think that it’s disgusting that people can’t name, for example, the year that the First World War started or the year of the Battle of Hastings. History should be about facts – everyone should be able to name the British monarchs in order from the Battle of Hastings onwards. I must admit that I can’t quite, but I think that’s a failing of the school system rather than me. I’m intending to learn them all.
I feel that reading and memorising historians’ opinions isn’t as important and beneficial as actually learning the facts of history. I think that knowing the key opinions is important, and writing historiography essays can also be very beneficial, but the basis of history is facts and details. In some ways, children’s school textbooks are more useful in this manner than scholarly texts, which do focus on opinions. But textbooks tend to spread out the facts which kids should learn. Continue reading “History: Fact or Opinion?”