Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why It's Always 1895

Why is that hit counter on Dr. Watson's blog stuck on 1895?  Just a glitch?  An homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?  Perhaps.

But it also foreshadows the major developments in "The Riechenbach Fall."  And we aren't the first fans to take special note of the fact that reality on Baker Street is always set at 1895:


Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
  by Vincent Starrett (1886-1974) All Poetry Dot Com 

It was reported in post 5 of  this Baker Street Irregulars thread that: 
Conan Doyle tried to kill off Holmes at the end of his second story collection, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1895). Public outcry was so strong, though, that he eventually brought Holmes back to life after a decade's hiatus

... a crowd gathered outside Sir Arthur's house wearing black arm bands demanding that Holmes be brought back to life one woman is even reported to have said "Bring him back you brute!"

The Sherlock writers seem to be having a great deal of fun with the homages to Conan Doyle's  classic Holmes through the ages. But we don't want to miss the significance of these clues when they appear.  The number 1895 and the number being "stuck" on John's blog, happens in the first episode of Series 2, "A Scandal in Belgravia." 

Note above that it was in his second story collection that Doyle tried to kill off Holmes.  So we should have expected, when we learned the count was stuck, that in Series 2 Holmes will appear to die.  And we should know that he will only appear to have died. 

ebooks@Adelaide, a University of Adelaide website, has graciously put all of the Sherlock Holmes works online for us to read free of charge.

(Vince Starrett's wikipedia page)


  1. Does it mean that the counter will move again when Sherlock is alive again in Series 3?

  2. Interesting thought. But it was always 1895 in the original stories, so it might get stuck there forever.

  3. As proprietor of Always1895.net - and a giant fan of Vincent Starrett - when I first noticed John's counter stuck at 1,895 I immediately concluded Moffat had inserted the show's best Sherlockian 'easter egg' to date.

    Though the "always 1895" hit counter remains my personal favorite reference, I have no qualms admitting that there is an even greater surprise awaiting the faithful in the following episode, The Reichenbach Fall (S02xE03).

    Think back to The Diogenes Club scene when a distraught Watson, desperately searching for answers, barges into "the queerest club in London" and accosts an old club member. Eagle-eyed Sherlockians quickly realize that this old man is in fact played by none other than Douglas Wilmer!

    Douglas Wilmer played Holmes (opposite Nigel Stock as Watson) for the BBC in 1965 for thirteen episodes. But that's not all: the bow-tie Wilmer wears is the official tie (in the official colors) of the BSI: purple, blue and mouse - though I'll stop here and let you deduce why this august Sherlockian society chose this particular color scheme... http://goo.gl/u1P5Se (screenshot of Wilmer)

    1. Are the BSI colours purple, blue and mouse because those are the colours of Holmes' dressing gowns? Is the Sherlockian society of today ready to appreciate the depth of true love that exists between Holmes and his faithful John Watson which had to be hidden in the oppressive Victorian society of 1895?

  4. Elizabeth Perez writes: What I really want to know is how Sherlock's twin brother died. SACD suggested the twin was stillborn, but I do wonder. Season 4; I long for thee.