The dinner was significant for a number of reasons. It was the first time Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle met (and I believe there was only one other actual meeting not long before Wilde went on trial). The dinner led to commissions for both men to write books of approximately 45,000 words. For Conan Doyle this was The Sign of (the) Four; for Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
In 2010 The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Oscar Wilde Society oversaw the erection of a plaque on the wall of the Langham to inform people of this event. It had been hoped to erect the plaque the previous year to mark the 120th anniversary of the dinner but instead it went up on the 120th anniversary of the publication of both stories (which came out in 1890).
Conan Doyle described the dinner as a 'Golden Evening' and Nick Utechin - the society historian for the SHSL - produced a booklet on the occasion of the plaque unveiling entitled A Golden Day. This is being added to and re-printed for this occasion as A Golden Evening. Nick is, in my opinion, the authority on the events of this dinner and his original booklet proved an invaluable source for the short speech I will be giving.
I don't know how many copies of the new edition are being printed but they will be must have items.
Written by Alistair DuncanBuy my books here