I predicted that I would be shattered, but nothing prepared me for just how much my feet would hurt on the train heading back home.
Those of you who regularly follow the blog will know that I’ve spent the past three days in London, touring all the Carry On sites of interest outside Pinewood Studios. As an early birthday present for my mum, who is quite possibly the world’s biggest Carry On fan, I mapped out loads of the blue plaques, grave sites and filming locations in and around the London area.
As an extra gift, I had managed to purchase a print from the extremely talented British Comedy and portrait artist Steve Lilly (@Stevelilart), who just happened to live about ten minutes away from me, which I gave Mum when we arrived in London. She loved it!
It was exhausting, but we pretty much managed to cover everything I had planned.
On the first day we visited Maidenhead Town Hall, which was used in several of the films, and walked just around the corner to the high street, where a few of the scenes from Carry On Camping was filmed.
We then travelled out to Windsor, where the frontage on Park Street was used in Carry On Loving and Carry on Regardless, and part of the train station was used (although it looks very different now). I wanted to check out a few more places around Windsor, but my phone signal was glitchy and I hadn’t had the foresight to print off maps, so we took the opportunity to spend a bit of time outside Windsor Castle, eating an ice-cream on a bench in the sun while being surrounded by hoards of tourists from all over the world, many of whom were causing traffic chaos by stopping in the middle of the main road so they could have their pictures taken with their massive cameras. (Click on the images for the description)
The following day was the big one. We started at Golders Green Crematorium, where we had been very kindly offered a tour by Eric, a member of staff who has worked there for a number of years. And what a tour it was – Eric showed us where the grave sites and memorials were of many British comedy legends, but then took the time to point out plaques of interest (Keith Moon, Marc Bolan, Ronnie Scott, Larry Adler and Hughie Green to name just a few), and even took us into all of the different (and truly breathtaking) mausoleums and chapels and into the crematorium itself. As well as seeing the final resting places of Sid James, Bernard Bresslaw, Yootha Joyce and Peter Sellers, he also showed us the urns of Bram Stoker, Anna Pavlova, Sigmund Freud and Tyrell William Cavendish, who died on the Titanic. His knowledge (and indeed, passion) for the place was incredible, and he was so nice that we could have quite easily stayed there and talked to him for most of the day – a two-and-a-half hour tour only really broke the surface of what is there.
Then, the touring was up to me – I had worked out the route, tube stations and areas of each point, and we went from one to another… There were a few hiccups along the way – I had got the location of Hattie Jacques memorial site wrong (I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral instead of St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden), and then when we found the right place we discovered that it was closed, Frankie Howerd’s house was located on the second of two roads that were both named Edwards Square, Hattie Jacques’s house at Earls Court is no longer a museum and has been converted into flats and we accidentally discovered that Sid James’s house and blue plaque did still exist, despite the fact that the internet told us otherwise (we decided to find the site of the house anyway, and thank goodness we did), but other than that everything went reasonably well.
Ten miles of walking, seventeen different tube stations and sixty-four floors later (my mum was wearing a fit-bit) we had managed to find:
Joan Sims flat (Esmond Court, Thackaray Street)
Frankie Howerd’s house (Edwardes Square)
Hattie Jacques’s house (67 Eardley Crescent)
Sid James’s house (Gunnersbury Avenue)
Kenneth Connor’s house (South Hill Avenue)
Finding Kenneth Connor’s house was interesting – it’s a stunning country cottage at the end of a VERY long, private road, and we were too frightened to get close to it as technically we would have been trespassing. We were helped in our directions by a lovely man who I recognised from the TV, but when I asked him had he been on television he just smiled a yes I have but I’m not going to talk to you about it smile and carried on walking. His chocolate labrador was lovely too… Knowing my luck, he’s probably incredibly famous, he’ll appear on my screen tomorrow and I’ll slap myself that I didn’t get his autograph.
By the time we reached Kenneth Connor’s house I had had enough (we’d been travelling around for about eleven hours) so we went back to the hotel and I promptly fell asleep at about 9.30, waking up at about 7.00am this morning. We had breakfast and then travelled out to Kenneth Williams’s flat (Farley Court, Marylebourne Road) as we had been too tired to visit yesterday, and then had a walk to Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross and then around the British Library to kill some time. There’s still one or two things that we still need to do, but we’ll save that for another time…
I think my feet need a break!
What about you guys? What have you been up to over the last few days?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.