Copenhagen Tunnel: The Ladykillers Part 2

20 Mar

In Frederica Street: Sweet Old Lady in 60,000 bank robbery! I explained how Ealing Studios’ classic The Ladykillers (1955) was dear to me: One of the first movie I saw after landing in the UK, one that reminded me of a bygone era and that I was over the moon when I realised it had been partly filmed in Islington’s Frederica Street.

Sadly, we also saw how this excitement was short lived when I walked to Frederica Street and realised that shortly after the filming the area had undergone a major redevelopment to give way to the Nailour Estate: Nothing remained from 1954.

Nothing? Hummm, maybe not. Despite all the changes around Frederica Street, if you look carefully, you will find that 60 years on something is still here: The Copenhagen Tunnel. The bridge and the mouths of the tunnel that stood right at the back of Mrs Wilberforce’s house, so crucial in the final stages of the film, can still be seen today.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 01

Alec Guinness (Professor Marcus) and Herbert Lom (Louis)

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 02

The LadyKillers - Bridge - MRX

Yes I confess, it is particularly difficult to reach since Frederic Street is no more but…where there is a will, there is a mean. The long option will take you via York Way and then Yale Road through the industrial estate.

A shorter and maybe more comfortable route might be to simply catch the Overground from the Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Station towards Camden Road. Within seconds of departing, looking north, you’ll see it.

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel from the Overground

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel
from the Overground

A final option might be to know someone living in the Bunning Way flats (off the former Frederica St) and who may let you have a sneak peek from their window or car park… you know my email.

CALL OUT: In an interview available online Tom Pevsner, Assistant Director on The Ladykillers, recalls that in Frederica Street, the crew “used rooms in various houses as dressing rooms, rest rooms for the artists, make-up, hair and all that fitted in and we were there for quite a long time.” (…)  I should think probably 3 or 4 weeks and the people got quite used to us and enjoyed it (…) I think all the people in Frederica Street or a lot of them knew each other (…).

Pictures found online show a tea party organised by the producers and attended by the cast for the schoolchildren of Frederica Street as a thank you for their co-operation during the many weeks of location shooting.

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

Do you know anyone who lived in Frederica Street or the area back then? Anyone who may have opened their doors to the crew? Attended the tea party? We would LOVE to hear from them!

Fade Out

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)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Vale Royal, N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road and York Way

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