For this assignment, I decided to research Leatherhead, Surrey– where the Step father’s estate is and where most of The Adventure of the Speckled Band takes place.
Here is an overview of what the place looks like.
From this picture, it is safe to assume this is a quaint rural place in England.
To look for research, I started at British History Online, which states it contains “primary and secondary sources” from British history. I later looked on the other two sites but could not find anything really relevant to the description or importance of Leatherhead. In one source from Victoria Country History published in 1911, they state “Leatherhead is a small town or large village” (British History Online). This source also states Leatherhead is dominated by agricultural and has always been known as an “old county town” (British History Online). This same source talks of the various lords who have owned manors in Leatherhead as early as the 1200s (British History Online). Interestingly, the Victoria Country History also claims “Leatherhead was quite possibly the meeting-place of the Hundred Court of Copthorne. (fn. 5) It is also geographically near the centre of the county, and a convenient place for the meetings of influential people in Surrey.”
All this information is extremely relevant to The Adventure of the Speckled Band. First of all, the author wants to create a calm and settling environment so the Step Father seems very out of place and dangerous there. What better place than the quaint country town of Leatherhead? In addition, The step father lives on a manor, so it makes sense for his manor to be in a place with a known history of having manors. Finally, if Leatherhead is near the center of the country, it would be accessible and realistic for Holmes to travel there from London– it is not a far fetch idea for him to get to Leatherhead to investigate a case.
Basically, Leatherhead, Surrey fits the plot of this Holmes story perfectly. It makes for the perfect environment for the story to take place in and makes the details to the story realistic.