Sherlock Holmes is commemorated by numerous plaques, a museum, a pub and a statue. It's a good haul for a person who never existed. Curiously, though, there's a memorial to a real Sherlock round the corner from the detective's Baker Street home.
This is a plaque to Professor Dame Sheila Sherlock (1918-2001). You'll find it on York Terrace East — one of those posh, stuccoed rows near Regent's Park that you have no business visiting unless you're the kind of person who likes stumbling across random plaques. It's a five-minute walk from Baker Street.
Alimentary, my dear Watson
Like her fictional namesake, Prof Sherlock was noted for her sharp, analytical mind. According to her obituary, she almost single-handedly started the field of hepatology — the study of the liver, associated organs and their diseases. She pioneered many techniques in alimentary surgery — a gift to anyone looking for Sherlock Holmes puns to enliven a half-baked article.
During her long career at the Royal Free hospital, she published a staggering 600 papers in scientific journals. Among her dazzling list of awards, Sherlock was made the youngest female Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1951, appointed a Dame in 1978 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in the final year of her life.
Whether she played violin, hung about in opium dens and smoked a clay pipe is unrecorded.