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Thursday April 18th 2024

The Quatermass Xperiment (THE CREEPING UNKNOWN)| 1955

Quatermass Xperiment location: Queen Charlotte Street, Windsor, Berkshire
The Quatermass Xperiment location: the returned astronaut Carroon steal drugs from the chemist shop: Queen Charlotte Street, Windsor, Berkshire

Hammer Films brings to the big screen Nigel Kneale's excellent and scary Fifties TV series, with returning astronaut Victor Carroon (Richard Wordsworth) slowly succumbing to an alien fungus.

The rocket carrying Carroon and two other astronauts falls to earth in a field alongside Bray Studios (home of Hammer Films, of course) near Bray, southeast of Maidenhead in Berkshire. The ambulances race through Bray High Street to the A308, past Bray Garage, which still stands unchanged.

Quatermass Xperiment location: Bray High Street, Bray, Berkshire
The Quatermass Xperiment location: ambulances race to the crash site: High Street, Bray, Berkshire

The chemist shop, where a slowly mutating Carroon steals drugs, is Woods of Windsor, Queen Charlotte Street, a perfumery still going strong, just off Windsor High Street. By the way – at 51 feet, ten inches, Queen Charlotte Street is officially recorded as the shortest street in Britain (and bears a plaque to say so).

The mutating creature’s Frankenstein-like riverside confrontation with the little girl was filmed at Deptford Creek, south London. The muddy Creek is a half-mile tidal stretch of the River Ravensbourne, flowing north into the Thames, opposite the Isle of Dogs at Deptford.

But it's back to Windsor for the discovery of the slime trail, glooping 30 feet up a sheer wall, which was filmed in the narrow alleyway of Goswell Hill, alongside Windsor and Eton Station, off Peascod Street.

There's not a frame of the real Westminster Abbey in the climax of the movie, with the creature holed up in the abbey's scaffolding. After permission to film at the real location was, not surprisingly, refused, sections of both the interior and exterior were recreated in the studio.