The scope of Nick Utechin’s (The Ancient British Barrow, 1975) contributions to the landscape of Sherlockian scholarship and camaraderie is staggering, and nearly impossible, to contemplate.
In his interview, he discusses how his mother introduced him at the slightly-too-tender age of 9 to The Hound of the Baskervilles; at that stage, he found it too frightening. A few years later, his great-aunt gave him for Christmas the Sherlock Holmes Illustrated Omnibus; subsequently, his mother gave him William Baring-Gould’s Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. Endnotes in Baring-Gould’s edition first introduced the Sherlock Holmes Society of London (SHSL) and The Sherlock Holmes Journal.
A complete catalogue of his accomplishments is beyond the scope of this brief description. In 1966, Nick joined The Sherlock Holmes Society of London at age 14. In 1975, he was elected to the Council of the SHSL. He served as Editor of The Sherlock Holmes Journal for 30 years, from 1976-2006. In January 2007, he was made an Honorary Member of the SHSL in recognition of his editorial service. He was also a Master Copper-Beech-Smith of The Sons of The Copper Beeches of Philadelphia. He published hundreds of erudite pieces, including Sherlock Holmes at Oxford, organized numerous events and trips, and contributed tirelessly across multiple media. He wrote three Baker Street Journal Christmas Annuals and Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: Sherlock Holmes, and co-edited To Keep the Memory Green: Reflections on the Life of Richard Lancelyn Green.
Among innumerable captivating anecdotes, Nick’s interview discusses: his early years and family (Basil Rathbone is a third cousin twice removed); his roots in Oxford; the origins of his career in radio broadcasting, beginning with his involvement with the Oxford University Broadcasting Society, and producing features of Sherlockian and Doylean interest; and Anglo-American collaboration, including his involvement in the Three Students Plus, a BSI scion society, and correspondence with Ronald B. De Waal, John Bennett Shaw, and Nathan Bengis. Other fascinating topics include his assessment of The Earthquake Machine and Hellbirds, the Sherlock Holmes pastiches that he published with Austin Mitchelson, and his interactions with Richard Lancelyn Green’s legendary holdings.
Nick passed away in August 2022. Listening to his recollections underscores the incalculable magnitude of this loss.
Click to play this interview (playback help)
Interviewee: Nicholas Utechin
Interviewer: Roger Johnson
Date: May 20, 2014
Location: Westminster Reference Library
Description: MP3, 96.8 MB, 320kbps, 42 minutes
Early life and family
University of Oxford
“To Keep the Memory Green”
Arthur Conan Doyle Society
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sherlock Holmes Society of London
Sherlock Holmes Journal
Three Students Plus
Baker Street Journal
Sherlock Holmes at Oxford
Michael F. Whelan
The Twisted Lips
Occasionally to Embellish
Richard Lancelyn Green
Ronald B. De Waal
John Bennett Shaw
The 1975 BSI Dinner
Nick Utechin received his Investiture at this BSI Dinner.
Autumn 2022 BSJ “The Editor’s Gas Lamp” (BSI website)
Steven Rothman, a close friend and BSJ Editor for 23 years, offers a brief tribute to Nick.
To Keep the Memory Green (BSI website)
Nick co-edited a joint BSI and SHSL publication of essays in memory of Richard Lancelyn Green.
Sherlock Holmes Journal (SHSL website)
Nick edited the journal of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London for 30 years, from 1976-2006.
Occasionally to Embellish (Wessex Press website)
A collection of Nick’s Sherlock Holmes writings from 1969-2009.
Audio Podcast: Remembering Nicholas Utechin (IHOSE website)
Nick was a frequent guest on the “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere” podcast. This episode pays tribute to his extensive Sherlockian oeuvre and links to his other IHOSE appearances.
Photo courtesy of Jean Upton
For an index to all OHP interviews, see our Oral History Project Summary list.
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Material in the BSI Archive may be used by any qualified scholar, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the library. For links to a detailed finding aid and related information, see our BSI Archive page.
Page composed on 1/29/23 by Tamar Zeffren
This page last updated 1/29/23 by Tamar Zeffren