Sherlock Holmes, 2009
- Robert Downey Jr
- Jude Law
- Rachel McAdams
- Mark Strong
- Eddie Marsan
- James Fox
- Hans Matheson
- Bronagh Gallagher
Visit: the Priory Church of St Bartholomew The Great, Smithfield, EC1 (tube: Barbican, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines)
Hatfield House (tel: 01707.262823, admission charge, rail: Hatfield, from London King's Cross)
Cliveden House, near Maidenhead
Sherlock Holmes location: Lord Blackwood rises from the Blackwood vault: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, London SW5
Victorian London is knitted together from real locations all over England (along with studio sets and imaginative CGI) in Guy Ritchie’s irreverent take on the Sherlock Holmes canon. The film bounces along enjoyably enough, though the ratio of cerebral deduction to fisticuffs is a slightly tilted the wrong way, and the script seems set up to spawn a franchise.
Sherlock Holmes location: the journey to St Paul’s: Middle Temple Lane
The opening scene, of Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) and Dr Watson (Jude Law) heading towards St Paul’s Cathedral is filmed on Middle Temple Lane (where Michael Gambon was abducted in Robert de Niro’s CIA thriller The Good Shepherd, and where the haunted Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) walks the streets in The Wolfman).
Sherlock Holmes location: the human sacrifice in 'St Paul's Cathedral': Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, London
They arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral, where the spiral staircase chase was filmed. The crypt, though, where Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is apprehended while preparing a human sacrifice, is the nave of the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield (a familiar location seen in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Shakespeare in Love among many other productions).
Sherlock Holmes location: Holmes dines with Watson and his fiancée: The Reform Club, Pall Mall, London SW1
Don’t count on booking a table at classy restaurant ‘The Royale’, where a disgruntled Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) disrupts the meal with Watson and his fiancée, Mary. The restaurant was conjured up inside the Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, one of London’s exclusive gentlemen’s clubs, previously featured in 2002 Bond movie Die Another Day, the 2001 remake of The Four Feathers with Heath Ledger, Lindsay Andersons anarchic O Lucky Man! and Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty.
Sherlock Holmes location: the streets of Central London: Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10
Lord Blackwood appears to have risen from the Blackwood family vault in Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, Earl’s Court. Another screen favourite, look out for its gloriously decayed Victorian extravagance in GoldenEye, Stormbreaker and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises.
The crowded working-class streets of the capital were filmed in central Manchester, on Little Lever Street, Bunsen Street, Mangle Street and Back Piccadilly.
The ‘London’ docks, where a ship is being built – and gets prematurely launched– was filmed at Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent. The docks’ gates also became the entrance to ‘Pentonville Prison’, where Holmes and Watson are subsequently incarcerated. The docks were more recently seen as ‘Montreuil-sur-Mer’ in Tom Hooper’s hugely successful film of Les Misérables and as the Egyptian port of ‘Giza’ in The Mummy.
Sherlock Holmes location: The headquarters of the ‘Temple of the Four Orders’: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
The headquarters of the ‘Temple of the Four Orders’ – supposedly in ‘St James’s’ – where Holmes meets Sir Thomas (James Fox) and the Home Secretary (Hans Matheson) is the Long Gallery of Hatfield House, Hatfield in Hertfordshire. James Fox should feel at home here – the same gallery was also his house in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Sherlock Holmes location: the ‘Piccadilly Circus’ hotel: Cliveden House, Berkshire
The room in the ‘Grand Hotel, Piccadilly Circus’, where Holmes has an eventful encounter with the devious Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), is Cliveden House in Berkshire (site of the actual events recounted in the 1989 movie Scandal), three miles northeast of Maidenhead on the B476 Hedsor road (rail: Taplow). Once home to the Astor family, Cliveden is now a National Trust property, and the house itself is a luxury hotel. It stands in for ‘Buckingham Palace’ in The Beatles’ second film, Help!, and as the country home of Syr Rodney in Carry On – Don’t Lose Your Head.
Sherlock Holmes location: Sir Thomas’s grand house: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4
The exterior of Sir Thomas’s grand home is the College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, EC4, in the City of London (which, you might remember, is where James Bond gets a crash course in heraldry in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service).
Sherlock Holmes location: Blackwood at the Masonic meeting: Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, Holborn WC2
The Masonic meeting, where Blackwood pulls the old Bond villain trick of kindly allowing anybody with doubts to leave freely, is fittingly, in the Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, Holborn WC2. The building’s grand interiors can be seen in many films – even standing in for Saddam Hussein’s ‘Baghdad’ palace in Paul Greengrass’s Green Zone.
Sherlock Holmes location: the ‘Houses of Parliament’: Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester
Photograph: iStockphoto / Andrew Medina
Back up north, the elaborate Gothic Revival interior of Manchester Town Hall, on Albert Square, stood in for London’s 'Houses of Parliament’, where Blackwood reveals his sinister plan. The Town Hall is used the same way in both Louis Malle’s 1993 melodrama Damage and in Phyllida Lloyd’s film about Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady.
The ‘London warehouses’ on the Thames alongside a partially-built Tower Bridge are Stanley Dock in Liverpool.
And New York? Studio sets were built in the US, at the Marcy Avenue Armory, 355 Marcy Avenue, Williamsburg in Brooklyn (which has housed productions including Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and Will Smith thriller I Am Legend). Here, the attic of the Punch Bowl pub (site of the bare-knuckle fight), the interior of Holmes’s 221B Baker Street apartments, and a section of the uncompleted Tower Bridge, were constructed. The Punch Bowl, incidentally, is the name of director Guy Ritchie’s real boozer, on Farm Street in London’s classy Mayfair.