Date of publication: 2014
By Nicholas Utechin
Arthur Conan Doyle at the Langham Hotel
Friday 30th August 1889
Just over 125 years ago, one of the most productive publisher’s dinners in history took place at London’s foremost ‘grand’ hotel. J.M.Stoddart, of ‘Lippincott’s Magazine’, invited two authors to join him there, with a view to their producing new works of literature for him to bring out. The result from Arthur Conan Doyle was “The Sign of Four” – that from Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
In 2010 The Sherlock Holmes Society of London organised for a Westminster Council green plaque to be mounted upon an outside wall of the Langham in commemoration, and it was unveiled by Gyles Brandreth on 10th March of that year. Nick Utechin wrote a slim brochure to celebrate the occasion and the original story. Published in a limited edition, it has long been out of print.
However, the Society brought out an updated edition to accompany the anniversary Stoddart Dinner held at the Langham on 30th August 2014 – incorporating new material provided by Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland, together with photographs of the 2010 event and a new Introduction. A limited number of copies of this revised edition are now available – and bear in mind that this now standard reference item will not be re-published again.