Women In Love | 1969
The best filming of a DH Lawrence novel, with Glenda Jackson getting her first Oscar. Fittingly for Lawrence, the film uses many locations around the mining area of the East Midlands, plus a few scenes to the north, around Tyneside.
The opening scene sees sisters Gudrun and Ursula Brangwen (Jackson and Jennie Linden) leaving their home at 80 New Street, Matlock, about 20 miles north of Derby in Derbyshire, and walking toward Bank Road.
The tram scene was filmed at the Crich Tramway Village, home of the National Tramway Museum, near Matlock – one of the most comprehensive collections of trams and tramway history in the world. Trams run, every few minutes, along a cobbled period street, past the original facades of historic buildings from the around the country, before heading up to spectacular views over the Derwent Valley.
The wedding of Laura Crich to Tibby Lupton is at St Giles Church, Church Street, also in Matlock, a little to the south. The church was also featured in Shane Meadows’ Dead Man’s Shoes.
The grand house of the affected Hermione Roddice (Eleanor Bron, playing a character based on Lady Ottoline Morrell) is Kedleston Hall, four miles northwest of Derby near Quarndon, on the Derby-Hulland Road, Derbyshire. This neo-classical masterpiece was built in 1759 for Sir Nathaniel Curzon by Robert Adam, who also designed the superb interior. It’s now a National Trust property.
The circular saloon, where Hermione’s cultural performance gets sabotaged, is based on the design of a Roman temple. More recently, Kedleston Hall appeared as ‘Althorp’, the estate of the Spencer family, in The Duchess, with Keira Knightley.
‘Shortlands’, the home of Gerald Crich (Oliver Reed), where the young lovers drown during the party, is Elvaston Castle, Borrowash Road, Elvaston, just southeast of Derby. The park is currently open, but though there are plans to turn the house into a hotel, there’s a campaign to keep the estate open to the public, at Friends of Elvaston Castle.
Rupert Birkin (Alan Bates) rails to Ursula against humanity at the war memorial service in Derby Arboretum, in the Rose Hill area, about a mile south of Derby city centre. The East Pavilion received a coat of paint for the occasion, and this was the last work on the building until it was fully restored in 2005.
The first public park in England, the Arboretum was one of a number of parks visited by Frederick Law Olmsted while on a research tour of Europe in 1859, and it is thought that he may have incorporated features of designer John Claudius Loudon's work into his design for Central Park in New York.
The mine was Bedlington Colliery, 12 miles north of Newcastle in in Northumberland. Director Ken Russell had made one of his first documentary films, The Bedlington Miners' Picnic, about the community here in 1960. He returned to find the pit had closed, but the machinery was restored to working order for the film.
Gudrun wanders down Half Moon Lane in Gateshead, across the Tyne from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to The Central Bar, where she’s accosted by one of the locals. The bar, at Hills Street, is part of a ‘flat iron’ block behind the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, between the High Level Bridge and the Tyne Bridge. Built for Alderman Potts, a wine merchant, as business premises, the Grade II-listed building became a hotel around 1890, and has recently undergone substantial restoration. The scene from Women In Love was actually used as a reference for some of the bar’s original features.
For the snowy climax, the two couples holiday in Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn, Switzerland.
• Many thanks to Brian Purvis for help with this section.