The Real Sherlock Of Baker Street

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By M@
The Real Sherlock Of Baker Street

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

(c) National Portrait Gallery

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.

Last Updated 25 April 2018

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