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London on screen: The café from ‘Sherlock’

Written by
Thomas Hobbs

Sherlock lives at 221B Baker Street, right? Well, kinda. In the BBC hit series, the savant detective’s flat is actually located a mile or so due east. Traffic is easy to control in the quieter back streets of Bloomsbury, so the super-sleuth’s real pad can be found just above the instantly recognisable and real-life Speedy’s café.

The location: Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Café, 187 North Gower Street, NW1 2NJ.

The scene: Injured army doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) and genius private eye Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) meet at their new pad, 221b Baker Street. Sherlock reveals that the landlady, Mrs Hudson, owes him a favour after he ‘helped out’ when her husband was put to death in Florida. ‘So you stopped her husband being executed?’ asks Watson. ‘Oh, no, I ensured it,’ answers Sherlock.

Then: The exteriors of Sherlock’s flat were actually filmed in Bloomsbury, where traffic is controlled more easily. The café adjacent to the flat was going to be called ‘Mrs Hudson’s Snax ’n’ Sarnies’ but the producers ultimately stuck with its real name and distinctive red sunshade.

Now: Speedy’s has become a fan fave. According to owner Chris Georgiou, letters often arrive addressed to Sherlock. In the show, it’s been a regular meeting point for Watson and Mycroft Holmes. ‘I probably shouldn’t be saying this,’ says Georgiou, ‘but I’ve heard they’ll be coming back for a fifth season.’

For more of the city on screen, check out our list of the 30 best London movies.

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