Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here

23 Jan

From one Islington boundary to another and yet again it is with our Hackney neighbours that we are getting cosy. No surprise here when this week’s film was mainly shot in North London between Camden, Hackney, Islington as well as Southwark.

In Mike Leigh’s sparkling comedy Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is a cheerful and cheeky primary-school teacher whose happiness and exuberance irritate in no small measure her bitter driving instructor Scott (Eddie Marsan). Screenwriter and director Mike Leigh and his actors went on to collect countless awards and nominations for their work.

Once again ladies and gentlemen, we can proudly say that the main character of a movie ‘Lived in Islington’.

Happy Go Lucky - House - FILM 01

Or can we? Did she really?

Poppy’s house is on the corner of Finsbury Park Road (Hackney) and Mountgrove Road (Islington). Technically speaking the house’s door is the last one on Finsbury Park Road but the living room and its 3 windows overlook Mountgrove Road!

Since Poppy is taking driving lessons and getting in and out of the flat, you can spot it, the street and the area many times throughout the film. In fact, this is likely to be a familiar corner to many Islington residents. What in the film is an empty orange corner shop ‘To Let’ has since Happy-Go-Lucky become the popular Cafe Vintage.

 Happy Go Lucky - House - FILM 03

Happy Go Lucky - House - MRX o

On another occasion, when returning from a day out to visit her pregnant sister, Poppy and her flatmate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman) can be seen driving down Canning Road, at the corner of which Scott is standing, looking at their flat. When Poppy spots him, he shoots off, up Canning road.

Happy Go Lucky - Canning Road - FILM

Happy Go Lucky - Canning Road - MRX 01

At her next driving lesson, Poppy confronts Scott. While walking towards the car parked on Mountgrove Road you can recognise the blue front shop of Bennet & Brown, the peculiar grey double-doors next to it and the small food market store.

Mountgrove Road - Bennet & Brown FILM

Happy Go Lucky - Mountgrove Road - MRX

Once in the car, they turn left onto Wilberforce Road, back to Hackney. Where will we next spot our heroes? Yet again another movie we’ll be coming back to.

For now, and since you have made it that far, you may as well want to reward yourself with one of Cafe Vintage’s yummy treats!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Mountgrove Road N5 2LT

Arsenal Tube Station (Zone 2)

Finsbury Park Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Blackstock Road and Clissold Park


Related Happy-Go-Lucky posts

On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor 

At Highbury Corner, Keep Your Lane!


Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at) or via Twitter



9 Responses to “Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here”

  1. Gill McGrath January 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Love your London obsession and just have to say I am fascinated with London especially around Broadwick Street ( was Broad St once upon a time….and Soho area generally) and Battersea and Southwark and the surrounding bogs bridges and connections…… as my Dad came from London….. as did the many generations before him. Have uncovered an intriguing/ family history of swells and criminals and workhouse stays and more (my dad never quite knew about all that!) and people that moved house in the night on a horse and cart to avoid paying the rent, which he did know about…. an intriguing connection between places both sides of the river, a shifty lot……. and I now feel I own the place……but no place to go.!!!

    • The Unbelievable Mr X January 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. I guess that, a bit like you with your family, this blog allows me to discover the borough I live in and I have met since I have started quite a few people with many different stories! All the best.

  2. nicola baird blogs January 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    I loved that movie and feel really proud that Happy Go Lucky makes Finsbury Park – both on the islington and hackney sides – look OK! Nicola

    • The Unbelievable Mr X January 31, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      Yes I agree. It’s a bright and cheerful movie – unless you happened to watch it when on a ‘Scott’ mood!

  3. mimma gioia February 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    bello, questo film ce l’ho, lo rivedr e lo guarder con pi attenzione.Grazie di questa news.baci

    Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 11:54:57 +0000 To:

    • The Unbelievable Mr X February 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      Grazie Mimma. Non sapevo che fosse uscito anche in Italia. Girato propio vicino da casa.


  1. On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor #Enraha | Lights, Camera…Islington! - March 13, 2014

    […] (Sally Hawkins) confronting Scott (Eddie Marsan) about an earlier incident, outside her house in Mountgrove Road. Once in the car, with Scott behind the wheel, they disappeared onto Wilberforce Road towards […]

  2. Islington Film Locations: The Story so Far | Lights, Camera…Islington! - June 5, 2014

    […] comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Ladykillers and Happy Go Lucky to dramas such as Closer, Notes on a Scandal or V for Vendetta as well as documentaries, The […]

  3. At Highbury Corner, Keep Your Lane! #Enraha | Lights, Camera…Islington! - July 3, 2014

    […] Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here […]

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