Entries J-L

J Pen

“…Written with a J pen on Royal Cream paper…” – Mycroft Holmes, “The Greek Interpreter”.

A ‘J’ pen, or a ‘J’ nib, was a common writing-nib used during the Victorian era. A J pen is shown below:

A J pen attached to a pen-holder (my own, actually!)


“…Am dining at Goldini’s Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a jemmy, a dark lantern, a chisel, and a revolver – S. H…” – Sherlock Holmes, in a note to Dr. Watson, “The Bruce-Partington Plans”.

A ‘Jemmy’ is British slang for what is commonly known as a crowbar.

Jezail bullet

“…I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet…” – Dr. Watson, on how he obtained his wartime injury and was invalided back to England, “A Study in Scarlet”.

The round that struck Watson in the shoulder during the Battle of Maiwand in the Second Afghan War, was the kind of ammunition known as a Jezail bullet. What is a Jezail bullet? And, for that matter, what is a Jezail?

A Jezail was a muzzleloading, flintlock musket used by Middle-Eastern soldiers (such as the Afghans), in the mid 19th century. It is a long-range firearm capable of hitting a target several hundred yards away. A Jezail bullet, is therefore, the ammunition which was fired from these weapons, typically a spherical round of lead-shot. The Jezail was used to great effect against Indian soldiers and British regulars in various Middle-Eastern wars, since it enabled Afghan soldiers to fire at their enemies from a distance, and keep out of the range and accuracy of British troops returning fire with their generally inferior Brown Bess muskets which were less accurate over a comparable distance. A Jezail musket is shown below. The curved butt of the Jezail was shaped so that the gun could be braced against the shoulder and under the gunman’s armpit, instead of right against the shoulder, as with most long-arms.

A flintlock, Jezail musket. The curved stock allowed the gun to be braced against the shoulder and going under the armpit.

Langham Hotel

“…You will find me at the Langham, under the name of the Count Von Kramm…” – King Wilhelm, “A Scandal in Bohemia”.

The Langham Hotel, as it appears today.

Built in the 1860s, the Langham Hotel is one of the largest, grandest, and at the time of it’s opening, most modern hotel in London. It featured thirty-six bathrooms, a hundred toilets, elevators and in 1879, it installed its first set of electric lights. The Langham Hotel is also where Mary Watson’s (Nee, Morstan’s) father, Capt. Morstan, stayed in London, before his death, in “The Sign of Four”.

Lyceum Theatre

“…Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre tonight at seven o’clock…” – The Sholto Brothers, “The Sign of Four”.

The Lyceum Theatre is a theatre on Wellington Street, London, just off the Strand. A theatre by that name has existed in London since the 1760s. The current structure, and the one which Doyle writes about in “The Sign of Four”, was opened in 1834.


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