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  1. #1
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    Does anyone know what where the locations for Canterbury Tale?



    IIRC St Albans Abbey doubled for interiors to the Cathedral.



    Having spent most of the 90s in Canterbury it was strange to come back to that film again recently and see chunks of the town levelled by bombing and also to see so much of it still there relatively unchanged. Even if the shop beside the Cathedral gate is now a Starbucks!



    I often hoped during my student days there to find the field on the approach to Canterbury that the 'pilgrims' first see the Cathedral.

  2. #2
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    Cue, Steve Crook.



    Nick

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Does anyone know what where the locations for Canterbury Tale?



    IIRC St Albans Abbey doubled for interiors to the Cathedral.



    Having spent most of the 90s in Canterbury it was strange to come back to that film again recently and see chunks of the town levelled by bombing and also to see so much of it still there relatively unchanged. Even if the shop beside the Cathedral gate is now a Starbucks!



    I often hoped during my student days there to find the field on the approach to Canterbury that the 'pilgrims' first see the Cathedral.
    They used the organ from St. Alban's because the one at Canterbury had been dismantled due to the bombing. But no scenes were filmed in St. Alban's (as far as we know)



    They were denied permission to film inside Canterbury Cathedral and in any case all the stained glass windows had been taken out and the aisles were filled with earth & sand. Partly for fire-fighting and partly to act as a soft landing for any masonry that fell from on high.



    There is one piece in the film that was a shot of the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral. That was sneakily taken with a hand held camera when the Dean wasn't looking



    But all the other interiors of the Cathedral are what they re-created at Denham studio. That's typical of Powell & Pressburger and The Archers. "We can't film in the cathedral? No problem, we'll build one of our own". The interiors are so good that they have fooled quite a few cathedral guides who have been most insistent that they were filmed in the cathedral - until we point out the very small differences that give it away.



    The top end of the town has been redeveloped quite a few times but if you look hard there are still a few things that are recognisable. Marlowe's clock tower (St. George's clock tower) being the most obvious. The church itself was bombed but the tower and the clock still survive.







    If you want to explore any or all of the locations further then I can highly recommend Paul Tritton's book on the subject. It is full of "then and now" photos and has the exact location (including grid reference) identified for just about every shot in the film.



    The field where Alison says the pilgrims got their first view of the cathedral as they rounded the bend is identified in the book. But it's just a field, and you can't see the cathedral from there (that's the magic of film-making) - although Paul does identify various other places like where they had their "roll in the grass" and where it is most likely that the pilgrims' would have first seen Canterbury.



    And don't forget, we do an annual location walk every August bank holiday Sunday. All are welcome.



    We're not quite sure where we'll be for this year's walk, but Fordwich is looking most likely. That will let you see:

    * Fordwich Town Hall - a rare opportunity to compare reality with Powell's replica! (another thing they re-created in the studio)

    * St Mary's parish church, where Chillingbourne's parishioners were filmed arriving for matins

    * The entrance to the Colpeper Institute, and nearby streets and cottages that represented Chillingbourne village

    * The George and Dragon - where Michael Powell stayed while making the film, and whose exterior was, momentarily, The Hand of Glory

    * Hollywood in Kent, where many of the boys from the river battle lived

    and much more



    Steve

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    They used the organ from St. Alban's because the one at Canterbury had been dismantled due to the bombing. But no scenes were filmed in St. Alban's (as far as we know)

    They were denied permission to film inside Canterbury Cathedral and in any case all the stained glass windows had been taken out and the aisles were filled with earth & sand. Partly for fire-fighting and partly to act as a soft landing for any masonry that fell from on high.

    There is one piece in the film that was a shot of the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral. That was sneakily taken with a hand held camera when the Dean wasn't looking

    But all the other interiors of the Cathedral are what they re-created at Denham studio. That's typical of Powell & Pressburger and The Archers. "We can't film in the cathedral? No problem, we'll build one of our own". The interiors are so good that they have fooled quite a few cathedral guides who have been most insistent that they were filmed in the cathedral - until we point out the very small differences that give it away.



    The top end of the town has been redeveloped quite a few times but if you look hard there are still a few things that are recognisable. Marlowe's clock tower (St. George's clock tower) being the most obvious. The church itself was bombed but the tower and the clock still survive.







    If you want to explore any or all of the locations further then I can highly recommend Paul Tritton's book on the subject. It is full of "then and now" photos and has the exact location (including grid reference) identified for just about every shot in the film.



    The field where Alison says the pilgrims got their first view of the cathedral as they rounded the bend is identified in the book. But it's just a field, and you can't see the cathedral from there (that's the magic of film-making) - although Paul does identify various other places like where they had their "roll in the grass" and where it is most likely that the pilgrims' would have first seen Canterbury.



    And don't forget, we do an annual location walk every August bank holiday Sunday. All are welcome.



    We're not quite sure where we'll be for this year's walk, but Fordwich is looking most likely. That will let you see:

    * Fordwich Town Hall - a rare opportunity to compare reality with Powell's replica! (another thing they re-created in the studio)

    * St Mary's parish church, where Chillingbourne's parishioners were filmed arriving for matins

    * The entrance to the Colpeper Institute, and nearby streets and cottages that represented Chillingbourne village

    * The George and Dragon - where Michael Powell stayed while making the film, and whose exterior was, momentarily, The Hand of Glory

    * Hollywood in Kent, where many of the boys from the river battle lived

    and much more



    Steve
    Thank you for an informative post! I might try and come along to that in August! I remember being really annoyed to find out that my College had Jack Cardiff in to do a talk a year after I left! I know Canterbury well and must have passed through Fordwich dozens of times, but never put it together as being the site of Chillingbourne! I'd made the connection in my mind that they'd merged Sittingbourne and Chilham to create the name and sort of assumed it was somewhere out that way. About 10 years ago, IIRC it was in Chilham I found a pub that didn't have glass in its windows just wooden covers - so some of that old world survives..

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Thank you for an informative post! I might try and come along to that in August! I remember being really annoyed to find out that my College had Jack Cardiff in to do a talk a year after I left! I know Canterbury well and must have passed through Fordwich dozens of times, but never put it together as being the site of Chillingbourne! I'd made the connection in my mind that they'd merged Sittingbourne and Chilham to create the name and sort of assumed it was somewhere out that way. About 10 years ago, IIRC it was in Chilham I found a pub that didn't have glass in its windows just wooden covers - so some of that old world survives..
    Remember that it's only in the last part of the film that they get into Canterbury itself. Most of the action takes place in the villages around Canterbury. As Powell grew up in the area (around Bekesbourne) he knew them all very well and could choose exactly the location he wanted for each shot.



    Most of the action takes place in Chilham, Fordwich, Wickhambreaux, Shottenden and a few other places.



    But they were very sneaky about it. As said, Powell could choose the location he wanted for each shot, not for each complete scene but each shot.



    When Bob Johnson looks out of his bedroom on the Saturday morning, when he looks out of one window he's looking out at Wingham, on the Sandwich road, east of Canterbury. When he looks out of another window of the same room he's looking out at Fordwich, about 5 miles closer to Canterbury! That must be a big bedroom!



    Or when you have the classic "conversation shot" of two people talking to each other, the scene you see over one person's shoulder will be in one village. When you get the reverse angle shot, the scene over the other person's shoulder is a different village some miles away!



    It was quite a difficult detective job to put them all together and we thank Paul Tritton for the work he did in his book about the film - and of course the way he shares that expertise with us on the August location walks



    Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    On ITV 1 early Monday morning



    12.45am Cathedral

    Peter Williams explores the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, listening to gossip and ghost stories told by people who work in the shadow of the church every day. Among the tales he hears is an account of the Lord Mayor's abseil down the West Tower.

    followed by ITV News Headlines

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