Baker St

94 Baker Street, formerly the Apple Boutique.
94 Baker Street, formerly the Apple Boutique.

Baker Street is a street in the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster in London. It is most famous for its connection to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who lived at 221B Baker Street, an address that does not actually exist. The street's fame could also come in small part from musician Gerry Rafferty's famous song. The street is named for builder William Baker who laid the street out in the eighteenth century. It was originally a high class residential address, but now is mainly occupied by commercial premises.

Baker St is in postcode areas NW1/W1 and is a busy thoroughfare. It runs south from Regent's Park, the intersection with Park Road, parallel to Gloucester Place, intersecting Marylebone Road, York Street, Portman Square and Wigmore Street. At the intersection with Wigmore St, Baker St turns into Orchard Street, which ends when it intersects with Oxford Street.

The street is served by the London Underground by Baker Street tube station; next to the station is Transport for London's lost property office. The slang expression "to change at Baker Street" is a risqué euphemism for anal sex, stemming from the tube station's status as London's only place to directly transfer from the "pink" (Hammersmith & City) line to the "brown" (Bakerloo) line (though pedants may claim that this can also be done at nearby Paddington, the Hammersmith & City and Bakerloo stations at Paddington are not linked; they can only be moved between by going above ground).

Notable residents

In 1835, the first permanent exhibition of Madame Tussauds waxworks was opened on Baker St. The museum moved, just around the corner, to Marylebone Road in 1884.

In 1940 the headquarters of the Special Operations Executive moved to 64 Baker Street, Marks and Spencer office ; they were often called the "Baker Street Irregulars" after Sherlock Holmes's gang of street urchins of the same name.

The head office of Marks and Spencer, formerly the UK's largest retailer, was at "Michael House" (named in parallel with the group's "St Michael" brand) in Baker Street for many years until the company relocated to Paddington in 2004. This was one of the best known corporate buildings in the UK. It is expected that Michael House will be demolished and replaced with a new mixed use development.

In 1991 the Sherlock Holmes Museum opened at 239 Baker Street; they currently receive mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes and reply that he has retired to raise bees in Sussex. In addition, a statue of Holmes now stands outside Baker Street tube station.

See also

Baker Street tube station
64 Baker Street - headquarters of the SOE
221B Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes's residence
Baker Street Irregulars - Holmes's urchin detectives