Sherlock has filmed in plenty of interesting locations around London, but it is such a huge and disparate city. This unfortunately means it is impossible to squeeze every location into a two hour tour and some, sadly, fall by the wayside. Posts titled “On Location” will focus on these. First up: 23-24 Leinster Gardens.
“The lie of Leinster Gardens, hidden in plain sight. Hardly anyone notices. People live here for years and never see it. No door knobs, no letterbox, painted windows. 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, the empty houses.”
So says Sherlock in s03e03, “His Last Vow”, about one of London’s most intriguing addresses. At first glance 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens don’t appear any different from the real houses they are sandwiched between, but if we observe rather than merely see, a closer look reveals their secret.
In the 1860’s work was well underway on the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway, when a problem arose. Luckily Victorian ingenuity afforded a suitably eccentric solution:
“They were demolished years ago to make way for the London Underground, a vent for old steam trains. Only the very front of the house remains. It’s just a façade.”
In the episode Sherlock is using the “empty houses” to illustrate a point to Mary and to attempt to draw the truth out of her. In real life, however, the addresses have mainly been used to lend verisimilitude to lies, being favourite false abodes given by con men to help them swindle honest people out of their hard-earned money. Well, surely you would have to be as smart as Sherlock not to fall for their tricks.
The houses are situated in leafy Bayswater, where the architecture is just stunning, and a stones throw from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Nearby Notting Hill is also worth a visit.