What’s in a name?…Baker Street

February 25, 2013

Synonymous with Sherlock Holmes, where does the name Baker Street actually come from? Not from a baker located there, as some might expect. Rather, Baker Street was apparently named after a Dorset luminary, Sir Edward Baker.

Baker-StreetSir Edward, created 1st Baronet Baker of Ranston in Dorset in 1802, was a friend and neighbour of the Portman family who developed the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Sir Edward (who later changed his name to Sir Edward Baker Baker) had apparently lent the Portmans a helping hand in developing the area.

A fashionable place to live when it was created, Baker Street remains famous for the house at number 221b, which, according to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, served as the home to literary characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson between 1881-1904. The Sherlock Holmes Museum, which actually sits between numbers 237 and 241 Baker Street, now claims the address.

Other attractions to have been located in Baker Street include Madame Tussaud’s waxworks which in 1835 set up in premises known as ‘The Baker Street Bazaar’ before moving to its current premises around the corner on Marylebone Road in 1884.

Among the notable buildings still in Baker Street is the London Beatles Store (located at 231/233) where you can purchase all manner of memorabilia related to the group.

Famous residents have included 19th century Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, actress Sarah Siddons, author and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton, explorer Sir Richard Burton, and singer Dusty Springfield. The street was almost immortalised in Gerry Rafferty’s 1970s hit, Baker Street.

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