“The paper! Of course!” yelled Holmes in a paroxysm of excitement.
On Friday 11 October 1991 a notice appeared in the ‘Ulster Log’ column of the Belfast Telegraph, under the heading: ‘Elementary task for Holmes fan Alex.’ Readers were informed that Belfast man Alex Kane, who was a lifelong devotee of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation and a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, wished to contact fellow enthusiasts with a view to setting up a local society in the province.
Keen to widen the net, Alex subsequently placed a second notice – ‘Sherlock sleuths honour their hero’ – this time in the News Letter, on Monday 13 January 1992 (in the ‘Roamer’ column).
And so it came to pass that the first formal meeting of the society was held at Alex’s house on the evening of Saturday 29 February 1992. It was a giant leap in the dark!
The first item on the agenda was to agree on a name. Following a short discussion it was unanimously decided to call the fledgling society The Crew of the S.S.May Day, after the reference in The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, the only story to mention “Belfast” or indeed the “north of Ireland.” Oddly enough, there were no alternative suggestions.