Lauren Gao’s Blogpost: Mapping Holmes, The Strand/ West Strand

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short story, Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes and company have discovered Irene Adler has eluded them after a servant has informed them of her departure for a 5:15 train at Charing Cross. The station itself, is located on a fairly large road known as, “The Strand”.

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Charing Cross Station is marked by the green pin.

According to Historical Eye, “The Strand” (as well as “West Strand”) was said to be one of the most frequently streets at almost any point of the day, whether morning or night. It is popularly known to be home to principal theaters, law courts, shopping destinations, the Inland Revenue Department, and as mentioned prior, the Charing Cross Station on “West Strand”. Unsurprisingly, if there were residential buildings located on “The Strand”, a majority of them were middle class, “well-to-do” establishments.

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Screenshot (67) Bottom: Charing Cross would be located just off of the bottom left corner Top: The more northern continuation of The Strand

The maps provided by the Charles Booth Online Archive allow readers to view what the socioeconomic status (SES) was for households based on street location in 19th Century London. The website provides a key to help viewers understand which colors corresponded with which SES. It may be safe to assume that “The Strand” was trafficked with not only middle class individuals, but also individuals looking to spend money on material goods from, what Historical Eye’s description states as, “the best shops”.

With that in mind, consulting the Old Bailey online archive as well as Locating London‘s collection of Old Bailey proceedings, one would find that the majority of crimes recorded happening on “The Strand” are various forms of theft. While one source turned out two instances of murder, an overwhelming majority of crimes were listed as other grand larceny, pick-pocketing, shoplifting, etc.

While The Strand had not played a large part within Scandal in Bohemia, the location suggest a busy environment in which one is surrounded by the situational context of constant transit or transportation. I would not be surprised if there may be a scene in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories in which characters could potentially lose their pursuers in, like Irene Adler did but in a more delayed fashion.

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