5 Fragen an… Catherine Cooke
Catherine studied French and German, then Library Studies at the University of London. She has worked for Westminster Libraries since 1978, chiefly at Marylebone Library. Since August 1986 Catherine has maintained and developed the Libraries’ computer systems. She was awarded Fellowship in the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in 2006 and won the BIC/cilip RFID Innovation in Libraries Award for 2009.
Catherine has managed Marylebone’s Sherlock Holmes Collection since April 1982. She joined The Sherlock Holmes Society of London in 1980 and has served on Council for many years, currently as Joint Honorary Secretary (Meetings). She was invested in the Baker Street Irregulars of New York in January 1994 as The Book of Life, and in ASH in 2003 as An Idler of the Empire. She won the Baker Street Irregulars’ Morley-Montgomery Award for the best article in the 2005 Baker Street Journal, the first person outside North America to do so.
In what spare time she has, Catherine sings with Goldsmith’s Choral Union and enjoys cooking historical recipes.
1) Do you remember when you read Sherlock Holmes for the first time? Which adventure was this and what did you particularly like then?
It was 1964. I cannot remember which story, but I do remember that Silver Blaze was an early favourite. Probably because of the horse!
2) Are you still reading the Sherlock Holmes adventures?
Yes, from time to time, usually because I want to remind myself of the details of a particular story. I must confess I’ve not sat down and read a large number through for the fun of it for quite some time. Too much else to read – other Conan Doyle and books about Holmes and ACD included.
3) What do you associate with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson?
Baker Street and the areas of London where I work and spend time. The violin and music.
4) The first Sherlock Holmes adventure appeared in 1887. What do you think: Why is the famous master detective still so popular?
I think the characterisation of Holmes and Watson and the relationship between them. The humour in the stories as well. These are certainly the aspects that the more recent dramatisations have highlighted alongside the straight mystery story. the period detail and nostalgia is another factor – even when t hey first appeared they were nostalgic – they show us the world of the 1880s really, even in stories published in the 1920s. All telegrams, trains, gas lights and hansom cabs; very little telephone and electric lighting. You read them the first time for the mystery – you back to them for other reasons.
5) Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett – but also Peter Cushing, Roger Moore, Hans Albers, Ian Richardson, Robert Downey Jr. and many others. Which actor or which film do you like mostly?
Douglas Wilmer – he was my first Holmes. For films, I like the new Guy Ritchie and I have a distinct fondness for “Without a Clue”. the earlier Granada Television series were generally very good – lost their way rather towards the end.