Friday, January 04, 2008

Never Let Go


I was looking at your website and found the reference to the location used for the film 'Never Let Go', starring Peter Sellers, Richard Todd and Elizabeth Sellars which was released in 1960. The location for 'Meadows Garage' and 'Victory Cafe' was indeed Paddington, but the location given was somewhat vague.

I can be very specific about the location as my mother was born in 1903 and brought up in the shop which was used as the exterior of the 'Victory Cafe'.

The building was four storey and was No. 2a Chichester Place (not Street). It was indeed on the corner of Chichester Place and Kinnaird Street (which was formerly known as Chichester Street). It was renamed Kinnaird Street in the 1930's. My mother's uncle and aunt lived in Chichester Street and my father lodged with them when he worked in London.

The building at the bottom of the street is No 7a Chichester Place and served as the exterior location for 'Meadows Garage'. It was formerly owned by a coach builder called T. Sykes in 1888 and was later owned by Creaton and Co (Builders) in 1903. It actually became a garage in the early 1900's and by 1939 it was still known as Truman's Garage (Maze Works). The street was an assortment of private dwellings and shops and there was also a hotel at No. 6, the Maze Hotel.

In some of the pan shots, the building opposite 2a Chichester Place shows up. This was the Bayswater Synagogue, at No 11 Chichester Place, and further up, one of the shots shows the Harrow Road before the construction of the Harrow Road Flyover. The Bayswater Synagogue was opened on 10th July 1862 and became one of the most fashionable in London with many society weddings taking place there. Some of the first seat holders of the synagogue were the banker, Samuel Montague, and members of the Rothschild family.

My grandfather took over 2a in 1904 from his uncle, who had been there since 1880. The shop supplied groceries, heating and lighting oils which were stored in cellars underneath Chichester Place. He was described in the 1901 Census as an Oilman and Master Grocer.

The whole area became run-down after the war and was in this condition when the film was made in 1960.

My grandfather vacated the shop in 1940 (after 60 years in the family) and the whole area was finally demolished in 1965 by the Greater London Council to make way for the flyover and the new development which exists to this day. By an incredible chance, in 1965, my parents were passing Chichester Place after many years away, on their way to the coast and decided to have a look at her old home as they were passing. Not realising that the area was being redeveloped they turned off the Harrow Road and were just in time to witness a builder's wrecking ball crash into the walls of 2a, reducing the shop to rubble. Had they arrived ten minutes earlier they would have seen the shop still standing and probably would have driven on. Ten minutes later and the building would have already vanished. This chance of fate left a deep impression on my mother, having witnessed the final destruction of a home where she had spent a happy childhood and adulthood before leaving to get married in 1934.

I hope this gives you a good feel of the location used for the film. If you are interested I can send you a further email with an attachment of a picture taken in the street in the early 1900's.

Colin Childs, January 2008


What an amazing account! Thank you so much for the human background to what was a splendid film. This sort of information is really what our site is about, putting flesh onto the bones of the film. The nostalgic and historical family details serve to underline the fact that our ReelStreets really were real streets. Most of our viewers know something about the films made in their area, usually in their childhood, or at least young adult life, and many have tales yet to tell.

Thank you again, and I'm sending you a free subscription as a small reward.

Best wishes

John Tunstill

..................and yes please, the photo would be an excellent addition.