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Stutley Constable

Research! Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. Either way we all wish it to be easier.

On this thread any member can post links to websites where they have found useful tidbits that will help the rest of us in our writing. Anything to do with Victorian Britain, the canon stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, forensic science as it relates to Victorian Era police work or any other sources of information helpful to fan authors is welcome here.

12/13/2014 #1
Stutley Constable

This is a timeline of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John H. Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and certain events in Great Britain and around the world.

http colon //webpages dot charter dot net/lklinger/Chrotabl.htm

This is a highly detailed street map of Victorian London. Really useful! Follow links to an overlay with a modern map.

http colon //mappinglondon dot co dot uk/2013/victorian-london-in-incredible-detail/

Ever wondered about the famed "service revolver" Dr. Watson carries? Wonder no more!

http colon //www dot firearmstalk dot com/forums/f16/british-service-revolvers-8372/

12/13/2014 . Edited 6/24/2015 #2
Hades Lord of the Dead

*Gasp* The map! The map! *Devours new knowledge hungrily*

This is another timeline which I frequently use:

www dot sherlockpeoria dot net/Who_is_Sherlock/SherlockTimeline dot html

12/14/2014 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 7/24/2015 #3

https colon //archive dot org/details/practicalapiari00strugoog

A link to a book by a bee enthusiast written in 1825, his style has hints of Holmes, and there are many fascinating details of the craft.

12/14/2014 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #4

www dot victorianweb dot org/

Really nice for any random tidbits you might be curious about regarding the time period.

12/14/2014 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/29/2015 #5
Hades Lord of the Dead

I have a question which is not too pressing, but am quite curious - we all know that Holmes and Watson occupy 221B, but I am wondering whether the "B" would be on the front door which leads out to onto Baker Street? I have seen various adaptations where it is, but can't remember reading anything about it, and am just wondering if there is a 221A/C etc and what the layout and so on would be... Does anyone have any ideas why the B is there at all? Thanks :)

12/21/2014 #6

For the purposes of my head-canon, I imagine 221 Baker Street to to contain two sets of flats: Mrs Hudson and her staff (maid and page boy) occupying the ground floor which contains a complete household. (Kitchen, dining room, formal parlour, pantry, bedroom, guest room, and access to the basement (cold cellar, and coal supply).

The upper flat, 221B, is occupied on the first floor by a Consulting Detective, and on the second floor by a retired army surgeon. The first floor contains the sitting room and the bathroom. The second floor has the doctor's small bedroom, a privy, and the household lumber room. The live-in maid also has her room on the second floor, but it is only accessible from the ground floor by a separate set of stairs.

Holmes' bedroom faces Baker St, while Watson's bedroom faces the plane tree in the mews.

I based this layout on the space and construction of several early Victorian London houses.

Note: I was astonished at how small the rooms actually were. These were certainly not the palatial rooms of the aristocracy, just the residences of urban folk. Normally a whole family (and extended staff) would occupy the whole house, but Mrs Hudson divided the space so that she could rent out the second apartments.

12/24/2014 #7
Hades Lord of the Dead

Ooh thank you so much! That's really useful :)

1/4/2015 #8
Stutley Constable

This was an excellent question and a very useful and well thought out answer. Kudos to you both. I too wondered about this for quite a long time and concluded 221B had to refer to the residence of Holmes and Watson, not the entire house. Good to know I'm not the only one who came to this conclusion.

On an entirely different note (no pun intended): Does anyone have links to period music? Of course, classical pieces from the great composers would still be popular among the cultured, but what about popular songs of the day? Songs from musicals and stage shows or those available on phonograph records would be very interesting to me. Would Holmes listen to things like Gypsy music or the fiddle playing of Hasidic violinists? Would Watson have a small collection of Gilbert and Sullivan recordings?

1/5/2015 #9

Not a direct reply to your question, Stutley, since I'm afraid I don't have any such links. But I did spend a while recently researching how and where Victorians enjoyed music.

From this article I learnt that Holmes and Watson lived in precisely the era when music was just becoming a matter of public performance in big concert halls, and no longer only private performance for family and friends. I'm not sure that I really agree with the precise dates given in that article, though. The writer claims that the 1890s marked the start of big public concerts, whereas for example in the 1870s there were already huge numbers of music halls open across the country. Anyway, whatever the exact dates, it's certainly true that the Victorians enjoyed live music in a way no previous generation did!

If I want to have Holmes and Watson at a classical music concert, I usually send them to St James' Hall, which was apparently London's main concert hall from around 1858 to 1900. Later the main concert hall was Queen's Hall, from 1893 to WW2. Queen's Hall was also where the "Proms" took place from 1895 onwards, a famous annual series of concerts to which you can send Holmes and Watson if your fic takes place in the summer. Apparently at the times the Proms were unique because the ticket prices were lower and you were allowed to eat, drink and smoke! (i.e. more like the music halls and less like a classical concert, even if the music was still in the classical style)

St George's Hall was more theatre, comic opera, burlesque, vaudeville... But usage changed precisely during the period Holmesian fic is set, so check dates in the Wikipedia article! It also hosted lectures.

The Royal Albert Hall was also already open before STUD, but doesn't seem to have yet become as popular as the others mentioned above.

(All the above from the relevant Wikipedia articles.)

As for Music Hall rather than classical music, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a great resource, e.g. or

I would love to know whether Holmes and Watson would have gone to the music halls (not counting when it was for a case, of course). I get the feeling they wouldn't have (though apparently over time the music halls become more middle class), but I've never been quite sure.

1/5/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #10
Stutley Constable

Thanks for that, Garonne. I'll continue to keep my ears open for more information about the music popular at the time. I've read or heard (audio books) pastiches with varying opinions on what Holmes and Watson would have enjoyed.

Onto a different subject for the moment. Secret codes play an important part in several Holmes stories. Most notable in the 'Dancing Men' and 'Five Orange Pips'. Another secret code I just became aware of while doing research for a novel is the language of flowers.

Here's a link to a site with many links to pages on this subject and a few others: www (dot) proflowers (dot) com/blog/floriography-language-flowers-victorian-era

Back to my research!

1/6/2015 . Edited 1/18 #11
Stutley Constable

It's me again, everybody. I just picked a copy of 'How To Think Like Sherlock' by Daniel Smith. If I understand the explanation on the back cover, the author is trying to teach the reader how to use Holmes' method of deduction. I'm in the middle of another book right now, but I will let you all know if this book lives up to the promise.

1/22/2015 #12

I've seen that in the bookstore but I didn't really know...the only reason I'd ever get is so that I could write better SH fanfiction, lol. Let us know what you think when you get around to it!

I saw this site: http colon //www dot tlucretius dot net/Sophie/Castle/victorian_slang dot html which is supposedly a list of really low class Victorian slang. Is it any good? I have no idea what Victorian slang is like so I couldn't judge.

Also, if you're anything like me and spend an hour(s) deciding on a person's name, I found this place for some popular Victorian era names: http colon //freepages dot genealogy dot rootsweb dot ancestry dot com/poindexterfamily/OldNames dot html

Edit: I took the "dot" out of the links, Starluff. In forums it isn't necessary to substitute for full-stops (.). S.C.

Edit: I put the "dot" back into the links, Starluff. In forums it is currently necessary to substitute for full-stops. :D

1/26/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #13

I hate to double-post but I have a few more links that you might like!

http colon //www dot sherlockian-sherlock dot com/

does a great job banishing a lot of common modern misconceptions about Sherlock Holmes, like that Holmes haS feelings for Irene or that he was an addict. For canon hoes like us, I'm sure you don't need reminding that Irene Adler wasn't evil (nor a dominatrix, grumble..) but it also has lots of interesting trivia, like how Doyle came up with the famous sleuth, or talking about Joseph Bell, Holmes' inspiration.

I come from a corner of the world where we don't have last names, so I often have hard time making up names for my characters. So I found this place!

http colon //www dot oobleck dot org/steam/

a Victorian and Steampunk Name Generator, with such nifty names like Angus Cane Colburn III, Petty Officer-2nd Class Jennie Ardie Hollaway, and F. Currin Conoe.

http colon //www dot Victoriana dot com/Victorian-Fashion/

I found this site to be interesting just as a reference, even if you usually don't go into the fine details of what your characters are wearing.

1/30/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #14
Stutley Constable

No worries about double posts at this point, Strluff. We haven't built up much of a community yet, so no one should expect anyone else to wait on posting something useful. Even after forum attendance grows I would encourage members to post on threads like this whenever they come across something that might be of use. After all, there is no telling when a link might come in handy.

As for names- I love random generators even though I rarely use them. However, if you are in a pinch for English names or Canadian and American names you can fall back on old standards. Many such names are derived from trades, places and landmarks.

Trades: Cooper (barrel maker), Forrester, Warden, Fletcher (makes arrows), Cobbler, Baker, Smith, Tanner, Graves

Places: Church, Forest, Rivers, Castle, Hill, Shore, House, Lane

Landmarks: Stone, Post, Lake, Crag, West, North, Wells, Vale, Spring

Also, some names are derived from towns and cities: London, Luton, Cheshire, Perth (In this case all you really need is a map of the UK.)

Another way to come up with good names is to look up significant documents such as the Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta and see who signed them or participated in their creation. I don't suggest using the full name of anyone involved, but the last names would be quite applicable for most Holmesian characters.

Again, nice links, Starluff. I will check them out later.

1/30/2015 #15

Oh. Really? That's really cool, actually! Thanks :)

1/31/2015 #16
Mary B Walsh

Mrs Hudson is letting a suite of rooms in her home. Perhaps she is 221a.

2/10/2015 #17
Stutley Constable

Back on the 22nd of January I announced that I had picked up a copy of 'How to Think Like Sherlock' by Daniel Smith. It's a hard bound edition about the size of a trade paperback and is composed of 192 printed pages. I paid just under $8.00 U.S. for it and I think I wasted four of them. The book is pretty much for people who have never read the canon. Everything it contains except for a few quizzes can be obtained from the original stories. The quizzes are no different from the sort of thing you can find on many social media websites. Throughout the text Daniel Smith repeatedly states the obvious as if it is profound. He does this in nearly every passage in the book and yet tells the reader no more than they could have learned from reading the canon.

On the other hand, his quizzes swing between the childishly easy to the extremely difficult depending on your knowledge base. For instance: Quiz 2 on page 29 requires a knowledge of prime numbers to get an answer correct. I don't know prime numbers. I won't get that answer correct unless I do some research and that's not why I purchased this book. There are other examples where you need a thesaurus handy and it had better be a good one. It's all rather pointless for a fan of Sherlock Holmes. Or rather, the original Sherlock Holmes, not those introduced in pastiches and movies.

Frankly, I made it to page 107 and just gave up. I couldn't see the point of filling my head with any more of this book. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was certainly not a load of regurgitated quotes from Sir Arthur's stories. Oh, I forgot to mention that, didn't I. I'm estimating that about twenty-five percent of this book is direct quotes from canon. Daniel Smith does this A LOT. It would have been fine if he had written about these quotes a little more and had done some sort of analysis of the stories they're from, but he doesn't. He just says things along the lines of "Here's an example of..." and "This is how..." He doesn't really tell us anything we couldn't figure out just by reading the story. In fact, I got the distinct impression Daniel Smith thinks the rest of us are dumb. I'm seriously considering donating my copy to the library just to get it out of my home.

To sum up: 'How to Think Like Sherlock' is not interesting and it is not entertaining. It's dull as an old penny with quizzes that are no fun. If you want to learn to think like Sherlock Holmes, read the canon, not this book.

2/28/2015 #18
Stutley Constable

Here is an interesting site with weather reports from England dating back to 1884. I was a little surprised to find this, actually. These are PDFs of the original documents. They could be useful in two ways. Primarily the information contained in them could lend a bit of realism to anchor your story. Secondarily, reading the text and noting how phrases were constructed will inform you of how certain official reports were worded.

www dot metoffice dot gov dot uk/archive/monthly-weather-report-1880s

For later editions of this report just follow the links on the webpage.

3/7/2015 . Edited 6/24/2015 #19

My Beta owns a Livejournal account, into which she empties her knowledge and research of the Victorian era whenever she finds the time.

http colon //emstanton dot livejournal dot com/profile

6/16/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #20


Where are the links?

Am I the only one who cannot see the links?

(Not talking golf here, btw)

6/23/2015 #21

I am sorry; I distinctly remember copying the URL - I must have forgotten to paste it. The Livejournal account is: http colon //emstanton dot livejournal dot com/

6/23/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #22

Oddly, this link works just fine if you copy and paste it. No way to know if it will continue to work. S.C.

6/23/2015 . Edited by Stutley Constable, 6/24/2015 #23

I can't see the links either T.T

6/23/2015 #24

I think has decided to stop external links in forums now. Wonderful.

6/24/2015 #25

Yes, I think that is the case, b/c the links had definitely been there a few weeks ago

6/24/2015 #26
Stutley Constable

Hello everyone. I am aware there is an issue with links posted in this thread and feel it is safe to assume there are issues with links posted everywhere on FFnet. I've been a member of this site for a while and in my experience FFnet has weirdness happen every three to six months. Rarely is it the same issue twice in a row. This is just another instance of that kind of weirdness.

Never fear! Stutley Constable is on the case!

I was going to re-enter the links I have posted and discovered that the links are not completely gone. When you go to the edit page they appear in the edit box where they original were. Interesting! I think FFnet has done something to limit the links. You see, there was and maybe still is a spam operation out of Korea that was pasting links in every forum on this site. It was gibberish and nonsense to me and I blocked the posters whenever I found them in the Consulting Room. Part of my duties as administrator of this forum, after all, is the protection of the forum members. I'm sort of like a bouncer at a club in that respect. If you go to the FanFiction dot net home page you will find a notification relating to the site admins efforts to eliminate these spam posts. I think it is more than plausible that they blocked all links until they have figured out which ones go where. There is no way at this time to know if they will unblock said links.

Here's what I am going to do: I will go through each post and edit it so that the links will be useable. You will need to copy the link and paste it then edit it before you can go to where it is supposed to lead, but the links will work.

Example: www dot deviantart dot com/art/Sherlock-Holmes-123343002

If you replace the word "dot" with a period/full stop and eliminate the spaces to either side of it, the link should work once pasted into your browser. Also note that some links require the use of a colon (:) so spell that out as well when posting and edit it when using the link. If your link has www at or near the beginning you may safely delete the http and the colon and the slashes since your browser will connect you to any www in existence.

I am now going to experiment with this method to see if it works and hopefully come up with a solution this evening. I will keep you informed of my progress as best I can.

Note: The change in the links was successful. For the time being, please use this method for formatting your links.

6/24/2015 . Edited 6/24/2015 #27

Hooray for Stutley, the savior of us all!!

6/29/2015 #28
Stutley Constable

I just came across this documentary on Youtube and I think it is one of the most singularly interesting documentaries I have seen in months. Not only does it go into detail on Holmesian Forensic Theory, it recounts several cases (modern and 19th century) in which the theory was put to use. There are a couple of mistakes when they refer to canon, but overall it is really well done and I think it would be a great resource for anyone writing in the Holmes universe.

www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=CRMU9L6YoXo

And I found this documentary, also:

7/3/2015 . Edited 7/3/2015 #29
Stutley Constable

Here's an amusing video that is also informative:

One warning about this particular poster. Danger Dolan is frequently WRONG or misinformed on the subjects of "his" videos. I have found many errors in "his" various lists. Before using any of these words or trusting the information presented in this video, you should do your own research. Also be warned: The narrator has horrible pronunciation. I don't know where this person learned to speak, but I think he needs to go back to school and take some elocution classes.

Note: The reason his is in quotes is that the channel is presented as a male entity yet there are strong indicators that there are several people who cooperate to produce the videos.

7/6/2015 #30
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