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Carol the Dabbler

Mrs. Hudson

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I've been trying to think what all we know about Sherlock's Mrs. Hudson:

 

She's Sherlock and John's landlady ("Study"), meaning that she owns the house at #221 Baker Street.  This presumably also means that she rents out space to Speedy's.

 

She's a widow (her husband having been executed for a crime committed in Florida ("Study"), and was apparently dating Mr. Chatterjee of Speedy's until she found out that he's married ("Hounds").

 

She has a bad hip, but is graceful on her feet nonetheless, presumably thanks to her herbal soothers ("Study").

 

She's brave and resourceful.  She stood up to some pretty brutal treatment by a CIA agent, and then took advantage of his assumption that she was just a silly old woman in order to hide what he was looking for ("Scandal").

 

She has a somewhat old-fashioned value system (even for someone her age, I think), and when she's about to say something she finds embarrassing, her voice drops to a whisper ("Study" and "Reichenbach").

 

I've read somewhere that Series 3 will reveal additional information about her, but I've seen no guesses as to what that might be.  Even though I'm no expert on the canon, I know that looking for clues in the Conan Doyle stories is little help.  Is she specifically described as the landlady?  Or the housekeeper?  Or is Conan Doyle so inconsistent that her constant "your landlady, not your housekeeper" is an in-joke?

 

Are any children ever mentioned in the original stories?  Do we even know for sure whether there was ever a Mr. Hudson in the canon?  I've read (apropos of some other story) that back in those days, an older woman in a position of some authority (such as a housekeeper) would often be called "Mrs." even if she wasn't actually married.  I assume that this was intended to bolster her authority in the eyes of her underlings (especially any younger but married ones).  To quote Mrs. Paroo's words to her spinster daughter Marian (the librarian) in The Music Man, "If a woman's got a husband, and you've got none, why should she take advice from you, even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin' Greeks?"  Until not so long ago, a woman's authority derived from her father or husband -- even if only an imaginary one!

 

Answers to any of the above, additional questions, or comments of any sort will be most welcome!

 

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Wow, good questions, all of them.

 

The casebook mentions that the original Mrs. Hudson was indeed their housekeeper, but since "housekeepers are thin on the ground these days" (iirc) it's become an in-joke in the modern version.

 

As for her values being old-fashioned, she didn't bat an eyelash about Sherlock and John being a pair - true, she did that whispering bit you described, but she didn't seem to mind at all, something that one sadly can't take for granted.

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I don't remember any children in the canon though I think there is at least one sister. In the book "The Diaries of Mrs. Hudson" she had been married at one time but was a widow.

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Oh, thanks, that's one more fact about "our" Mrs. Hudson -- like your recollection of her canon counterpart, she does have a sister (in "Scandal," John says, "She can go and stay with her sister").

 

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The casebook mentions that the original Mrs. Hudson was indeed their housekeeper, but since "housekeepers are thin on the ground these days" (iirc) it's become an in-joke in the modern version.

The Casebook! I keep forgetting that it isn't just pretty pictures -- it's got some good solid information like what you just mentioned. Thanks!

 

 

As for her values being old-fashioned, she didn't bat an eyelash about Sherlock and John being a pair - true, she did that whispering bit you described, but she didn't seem to mind at all, something that one sadly can't take for granted.

True. But even though she's very sweet about it, the subject embarrasses her a bit. However, that isn't a particularly old-fashioned attitude. What I had more in mind was the other whispered bit, the anguished, "But I'm in my nightie!" And even better -- what was it that Alex mentioned? -- gaahh! If you're lurking, Sweetie, please remind me!

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Yes, because in canon she was the one who cooked their meals and did the cleaning up around. It's mentioned how she and Holmes were often in a tiff about him being less then neat and her moving his stuff about. But even in canon there is a great deal of affection between them.

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I don't think she was dating Mr. Chattergee, I think she was having a flirtation with him.  I presume this from her putting on a new dress in the morning to go down to the cafe and hang out scratching off lottery tickets.  I assume he is responding, somehow, or else how does she get flour on her sleeve? 

 

Does she own the cafe?  So, in the pilot, she is running the cafe.  But I wouldn't want to presume anything based on that, since they changed it.  Does she own the whole building?  Or just the - I'd call it a townhouse - that's been converted and that she rents out part of?

 

I wouldn't be surprised if she and her husband were grifters, working the old folks in Florida.  Somehow, Mr. Hudson, (who I assume was abusive towards her because of her attitude toward him and affection for Sherlock) managed to escalate to a capital crime.

 

Now, how would an Englishwoman in Florida know to consult a guy young enough to be her grandson living in London?  Internet?  I wonder if Mofftiss will take a page from reality and have Mrs. Hudson be an acquaintance of Sherlock's parents as Una is of Benedict's parents?  I wonder this as they have also hinted we are going to be getting some backstory this season.

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I don't think she was dating Mr. Chattergee, I think she was having a flirtation with him.  I presume this from her putting on a new dress in the morning to go down to the cafe and hang out scratching off lottery tickets.  I assume he is responding, somehow, or else how does she get flour on her sleeve?

I think it had gotten at least to the heavy mutual flirtation stage. Otherwise, she wouldn't have had the "right" to get so fired up about his not telling her he was married.

 

 

Does she own the cafe?  So, in the pilot, she is running the cafe.  But I wouldn't want to presume anything based on that, since they changed it.  Does she own the whole building?  Or just the - I'd call it a townhouse - that's been converted and that she rents out part of?

I'm not basing my statement on the pilot, but rather on the fact that she's Sherlock & John's landlady. If she owns their flat, she presumably owns that entire building (or, as you say, "townhouse"), including the space occupied by the cafe. She may or may not own the actual cafe business, she may just rent out the space.

 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if she and her husband were grifters, working the old folks in Florida.  Somehow, Mr. Hudson, (who I assume was abusive towards her because of her attitude toward him and affection for Sherlock) managed to escalate to a capital crime.

I can certainly imagine that her no-good husband was into that sort of small-time crime, which then escalated. However, I doubt very much that dear, sweet Mrs. Hudson was ever involved in any such thing. She may not even have been in Florida with him. But she did apparently have some specific knowledge of what he'd done, and wanted to make certain that he got his just desserts!

 

 

Now, how would an Englishwoman in Florida know to consult a guy young enough to be her grandson living in London?  Internet?  I wonder if Mofftiss will take a page from reality and have Mrs. Hudson be an acquaintance of Sherlock's parents as Una is of Benedict's parents?  I wonder this as they have also hinted we are going to be getting some backstory this season.

We don't know that she was living in Florida, or had ever even been to Florida. Come to think of it, we don't even know that her husband was actually living in Florida. He / they may have been there on holiday. Or he may have been an American con artist who, say, married her for her money. She found out, and was royally irked, but he'd done nothing technically illegal. Then she found out that he had done something really bad in Florida, and hired Sherlock to make sure he was properly punished.

 

Here's a list of the capital crimes in Florida:

 

First-degree murder (presumably the usual definition, intentional and premeditated)

Felony murder (murder committed during the commission of certain other crimes)

Capital drug trafficking

Capital sexual battery (against a person less than 12 years of age)

 

These laws are, of course, in a state of flux, but the list above seems likely to have been in effect at about the right time.

 

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Mrs. Hudson seems to be a character they went pretty far away from the canon with (as far as I can tell; haven't read every story). I've never noticed as close a connection between her and Sherlock in the books as there is on the show. On the contrary, in "The Dying Detective", Watson says she's afraid of Holmes and that she overprices his rent. 

 

I love the modern Mrs. Hudson! It's so lovely to see Sherlock behaving like a normal human being around her, almost as if she were his mother. He even hugs and kisses her. I hope the actress stays on for as long as the series continues and if she ever has to leave I hope they don't make the mistake of re-casting the role.

 

She's a very pleasant indicator that Sherlock is not misogynistic (something the original character has been charged with) and the scene where he rescues her from the Americans is a nice twist on classic chivalry: Why should the hero always save young, attractive women?

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There was some kind of affection between Holmes and Mrs. Hudson, even in canon. In the "Adventure of the Empty House" she is more then happy then to have him back. She is actually beaming when he and Watson return to Baker Street after collaring Colonel Moran.

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I suspect that Moftiss's take on Mrs. H. and Una Stubbs' portrayal of her both owe something to Rosalie Williams' portrayal in the Jeremy Brett series.  There's a great deal of obvious affection between her Hudson and Brett's Holmes, which apparently mirrored the real-life affection between Williams and Brett.  Then again, the Sherlock commentaries give credit to the real-life affection between Una Stubbs and Benedict Cumberbatch (who have known each other since he was very young).  Maybe it's just that lovable women tend to be cast in the role!

 

Added:  And if Una Stubbs ever decides to leave, I suspect we'll see Mrs. Turner (from next door) become the new landlady.

 

 

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Added:  And if Una Stubbs ever decides to leave, I suspect we'll see Mrs. Turner (from next door) become the new landlady.

 

Now, that could be fun!

I wonder if she is ever going to appear in the show?

 

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Yes, because in canon she was the one who cooked their meals and did the cleaning up around. It's mentioned how she and Holmes were often in a tiff about him being less then neat and her moving his stuff about. But even in canon there is a great deal of affection between them.

 

Getting all pedantic on you all. Back in the day (when the originals were written) it was common for people to let out rooms in their own homes that offered meals, housekeeping, and laundry service as part of the agreement. As you might expect, single men were the most common lodgers. Holmes and Watson were lodgers in her house. She was both landlady and housekeeper (although she had a girl helping out which is also mentioned in cannon and this tiny mention was the inspiration for my novel). For modern Mrs Hudon to make the distinction is a nod to that I imagine.

 

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T.o.b.y. mentioned a few posts back that "The Dying Detective" provides some information on the Holmes-Hudson relationship.  I hadn't read that story yet (though I've recently watched the Jeremy Brett episode), so I went to have a look, and it's a regular gold mine!

 

In the very first paragraph, Watson (as narrator) refers to Mrs. Hudson as "the landlady of Sherlock Holmes" and to Holmes as both "her remarkable lodger" and "the very worst tenant in London," and also describes Holmes' digs as "her first-floor flat" (note: in British usage, the first floor is one flight up from the ground floor).  All of that seems clear enough.  Perhaps the "landlady, not your housekeeper" jokes are based on Conan Doyle's referring to her different ways in different stories (even calling her Mrs. Turner once).  So yes, wildwoodflower, it sure looks like Mrs. Hudson owns the house.  (And it was already clear enough from A Study in Scarlet that Holmes doesn't, since he and Watson describe their accommodations as a "suite" of three "rooms.")

 

The same paragraph also describes Holmes' rent as "princely," but doesn't specify whether Mrs. Hudson was overcharging him, or whether he volunteered to pay extra in order to compensate her for putting up with him.  The second paragraph states that she "stood in the deepest awe of him" and "was fond of him, too."

 

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she is a lovely woman and she is in fact the landlady of 221BS not the housekeeper  :bouncy:

 

 

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Does she own the cafe?  So, in the pilot, she is running the cafe.  But I wouldn't want to presume anything based on that, since they changed it.  Does she own the whole building?  Or just the - I'd call it a townhouse - that's been converted and that she rents out part of?

I'm not basing my statement on the pilot, but rather on the fact that she's Sherlock & John's landlady. If she owns their flat, she presumably owns that entire building (or, as you say, "townhouse"), including the space occupied by the cafe. She may or may not own the actual cafe business, she may just rent out the space.

 

Upon re-readng this thread, I see that I misunderstood the question here.  I see now that when Julia Mae asked whether Mrs. Hudson owns "the whole building," she seems to mean that entire row.  But if you look closely, you'll see that each "townhouse" is different (color of brick, style of windows, etc.), so apparently each "townhouse" is actually a separate building, built right up against its neighbor to conserve space in a crowded urban setting, like the brownstones in New York.

 

So when I said that Mrs. Hudson apparently owns the entire building, I meant the narrow multi-story structure that contains her flat, Sherlock and John's two-story flat, and a couple of unused floors.  There's never been any hint that she owns the entire row.

 

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Mrs. Hudson's letter (the one that came with the blu-ray set) reveals two tidbits: her first name is Martha, and she has a serious thing going for Greg Lestrade :).

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Her and Lestrade! Oh, now really, that is news. No wonder he can just walk into 221b, she's given him the keys. Clears up that little mystery, don't it.

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You got a letter from Mrs. Hudson?  Wow!  I'm jealous!  :P

 

I wonder whether it's considered canon?  They seem to be just a bit sloppy about these peripheral sources.  For example, in Series 3 (and note that I've temporarily moved this thread from Characters to Series 3):

 

1.  Mary says that she and John are planning a May wedding, and this is never contradicted on-screen -- but in John's blog, the date is given as August (and do read that entry, it's hilarious).

 

2.  Also, the BBC publication Sherlock: The Casebook gives Anderson's first initial as "S," but in "The Empty Hearse" Sherlock addresses him as "Phillip" (though of course he does get the occasional name wrong).

 

So I'd take that "Martha" with a grain of salt, unfortunately.  It sounds kinda familiar, though, so I wonder if I've also seen it somewhere else.  (The forum search doesn't bring up anything.)

 

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i think in the canon story "His Last Bow", Holmes does mention that Mrs. Hudson's name is Martha.

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I haven't read that story yet, but I did run into one website that said they didn't think "Martha" was the same person as Mrs. Hudson because of some specific difference between them.  So perhaps Holmes had a different landlady/housekeeper later on.

 

Apparently some other people think Mrs. H's name is Marie, but in Sherlock, that name has already been taken by Mrs. Turner next door (at least according to John's blog).

 

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1.  Mary says that she and John are planning a May wedding, and this is never contradicted on-screen -- but in John's blog, the date is given as August (and do read that entry, it's hilarious).

 

The operative word here might be planning. Mary came across as a bit of a Bridezilla in Sign, with the attention to detail John complains to Sherlock about. So the wedding might conceivably have been postponed until she'd found just the perfect shade of lilac for the bridesmaids.

 

2.  Also, the BBC publication Sherlock: The Casebook gives Anderson's first initial as "S," but in "The Empty Hearse" Sherlock addresses him as "Phillip" (though of course he does get the occasional name wrong).

 

I don't know if that rank even exists within the British police, but could that S be for Sergeant or something, akin to DI Lestrade?

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I'd accept one or the other without much fuss -- things do happen, after all.

 

The wedding could have been postponed -- though if any of the location shots happened to show flowers blooming (don't recall), they would have been May flowers, because that's when the episode was filmed -- which could be why they wrote it that way in "Empty Hearse."

 

I don't know whether the forensic team members have police titles or not.  Anderson is apparently a medical-type doctor, specializing in forensics.  Also I don't know what the British abbreviation for sergeant is, but here in the US, it's Sgt.  Another possible explanation is that Anderson's first name begins with "S" but off-duty he goes by his middle name, Phillip.  (Unless it's actually Paul or Fred.)

 

But as the number of anomalies increases, my credence decreases in proportion.

 

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Hmmm....I'll have to re-read "His Last Bow", I always thought it referred to Mrs. Hudson, but then that could have been just laziness on my part.

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I think in HLV, when Magnussen is "reading" Mrs Hudson, we can see her first name. And I think it really is Martha.

 

EDIT: Just checked it with Ariane's transcript and her full name is Martha Louise Hudson :)

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