I have always been a great fan of Sherlock Holmes, just as millions of people through the years. Doyle’s fantastic stories about the detective and his dr. friend Watson. And his bright mind that solved any crime no matter how hard the nut to crack.
And that he had so many defects as a person, like the drug use and his bad temper, only made him more human. And drug use was actually really common in the 1880’s, and not illegal either. Sherlock and Watson were amazing caracters and a great pair, and I always wanted him to be based on an actual person, even if I always have known that he is not. But I settled with that he is inspired by an actual person, and dr. Watson also. I kind of did not believe that personalities that colorful could be pure fiction, something someone only come up with. There were to many details in the stories for it to be fiction without any reasearch and any person behind the scene.
I actually had a conversation about this with a former employer. He asked me about this, if I believed that Sherlock was for real? Yes, I said, I believe he is based on a true person, or at least inspired by a true person. He thought I was a bit crazy. It is not that I actually thought that Sherlock was a real person, but it seemed like he thought that I thought that. But that was not the case. I have always believed that Sherlock is build on a true person, even though he have not actually lived.
Sherlock is one of the most popular detective stories through the years. It has been made over 200 films, 70 actors have played him and over 10000 books have been written about him.
Today I saw the documentary on Sherlock Holmes and dr. Watson: The search for Sherlock Holmes.
The documentary tells about the way Doyle came up with the Sherlock Holmes stories. Doyle grew up in Edinburgh in a part of the city -New town – where there were a mix of people and classes. It was a cross-section of the society. There were both rich and por people living there, boy street gangs was running in the streets and all kind of people lived there. And Doyle was a leader of one of the street gangs.
Doyle went to school in Stonyhurst and it was there he started to write stories. His first story was a ghost story.
During his school time Doyle met the teacher dr Joseph Bell at Edinburgh University. Doyle studied dr Bell and took detailed notes of all he did and about his person. In 1881 Doyle graduated and became a doctor. He started his own practice in Southsea.
In 1885 he came up with the detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle’s first Sherlock story was the A study in Scarlet. Second story was The sign of four.
In Doyles diary there are notes about stories and people he knew, notes about himself, mr Joseph Bell and all in his life.
As it happens dr. Joseph Bell look very much like the character Sherlock Holmes both in looks and ways, and dr. Watson is very much like Doyle himself. It is believed that the Sherlock character is inspired and built on his teacher dr. Joseph Bell, and the character dr. Watson is built on Doyle himself.
So both Sherlock Holmes and dr Watson are built on real persons.
And that is not all. The stories about Sherlock Holmes and dr. Watson influenced the police work in 1890’s in a way so the investigations methods were changed.
Source: documentary The Search for Sherlock Holmes