London On Film


First in an occasional series. Noel Coward’s 1944 crowd-pleaser ‘This Happy Breed’, the story of a London house and the family who lived in it between the wars, was apparently filmed at number 53, Alderbrook Place near Clapham South tube station, but I can find no such road existing today.

Celia puts the kettle on for the four thousandth time

Celia puts the kettle on for the four thousandth time that morning

And in ‘The Ladykillers’, Mrs Wilberforce clearly lives within sight of St Pancras Station, because you see the clock in the opening scene, but there’s also this lovely shot with the Scala in the background and what appears to be a public lavatory right in the middle of the road!

4 comments on “London On Film”

  1. I.A.M. says:

    Pardon my odd interpretation, but is that a replica of Paris’s Eiffel Tower on the top of that mid-road lavatory?

  2. Sarah M says:

    One of these curious mid-road public lavatories still survives in Manchester, although it has been turned into a bar.

  3. Stan says:

    The house in ‘This Happy Breed’ is apparently 53 Alderbrook Road, SW12. I’ve seen a fairly recent picture on the web and it looked very similar…other than the white van parked outside!

  4. Terrence says:

    Well, you never know when you will need to stop for a pee. I guess the middle of a busy road is as good a place as any to put a lavatory. By the way, the bar in Manchester is called The Temple, on Great Bridgewater Street or should I say in the middle of Great Bridgewater Street. I would enjoy meeting the person who thought of turning a lavatory into a bar. I have never walked into a lavatory and thought “oh this would make a lovely bar”. Thank you for mentioning the Ladykillers, I love that film. Mrs. Wilberforce was a hoot, especially with the umbrella at the end. I suspected there was a psychological reason why she kept forgetting her umbrella. And St. Pancras, I love the building. I think it would be wonderful to have a flat there up under the roof. It was wonderful when the building was sved and the train station renovated. Quite a lovely place these days. Last time I was in London it even looked like the Central Station had been tidied up a bit.

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