Langham Hotel

In A Scandal in Bohemia, many fictional locations are mentioned (mostly related to Irene Adler, oddly enough). However, there were a few actual locations in the story, one of which being the Langham Hotel, where the King tells Sherlock Holmes he’ll be staying at.

Langham Victorian
Langham Hotel, Victorian
Langham Modern
Langham Hotel, modern

The Langham, situated at the corner of Langham Place and Portland Place, appears (at least in the modern view) to be an exquisitely grandiose establishment, which would make sense considering the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle chose to include it briefly in a way that would imply it is truly fit for a king. In order to learn more about the demographics associated with this hotel, I decided to take a look at it on the Charles Booth Online Archive.

Langham Booth

As shown on the map above, Booth classified the area surrounding the hotel as generally ranging from middle-class to wealthy–this was certainly no slum, to say the least. Bearing this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Doyle chose this as the hotel the King would be staying in, as the demographics of the surrounding area seem particularly fitting to the archetype.

A search through British History Online revealed that this ritzy hotel also has quite a ritzy history. Until around 1860, the Langham was preceded on its lot by Mansfield House, the mansion owned by the Earl of Mansfield. When the hotel was finally built in its place, it cost over £300,000, going on to become, and remain, one of the largest buildings in the city. It officially opened with a luncheon in 1965, which the Prince of Wales attended. Needless to say, even the history of this hotel is absolutely bathed in royalty and riches, thus making it the perfect choice for the King’s hotel in A Scandal in Bohemia.


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