Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Baker Street Irregulars
The Baker Street Irregulars are a group of fictional characters featured in the Sherlock Holmes stories. They were a group of street urchins who helped Holmes out from time to time. The head of the group was called Wiggins. Holmes paid them a shilling a day (plus expenses), with a guinea prize (or one pound, one shilling) for a vital clue.
The Baker Street Irregulars are also an organization of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts founded in 1934 by Christopher Morley. Members have included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Rex Stout and Isaac Asimov. They continue to convene every January in New York City for an annual dinner, which forms part of a weekend of celebration and study involving other Sherlockian groups and individuals as well.
The BSI, as it calls itself, is considered the preeminent Sherlockian group in the United States. There are also "scion societies" approved by the BSI in dozens of local communities. Most scion societies welcome new members, but the BSI does not accept applications for membership -- instead, membership and the awarding of an "Irregular Shilling" comes as an honour to those who have made a name for themselves in local groups or in Sherlockian publications.
The present leader of the BSI is Michael Whelan of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Robert Heinlein picked up the idea in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Those Irregulars carried out similar surveillance in the run-up to a revolution, working for a computer named Mycroft, named after Sherlock Holmes' older smarter brother.
The Irregulars also appear in the animated series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, though these are teenagers, and presumably older than the ones of the Doyle canon. Like in the stories, the unofficial leader is named Wiggins, an aspiring pugilist and soccer player. Holmes practically deduces his entire life story simply by noting his walk and the stains on his clothes during their first meeting. A self-styled cockney girl and a computer nerd paraplegic form the other members of the group.
The Baker Street Irregulars is also the name of a band from Preston, UK who take their name from Holmes' street urchins.
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