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Vicary Street, Brixton Hill, London

Brixton Hill is the name given to an area between Brixton and Streatham Hill in south London.

Vicary Street was demolished in 1968 as part of a major redevelopment of the surrounding area and no longer exists. The area is now part of the Blenheim Gardens Estate.

Hitchcock's Films

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

St. Saviour's Church Hall, Vicary Street

The Church Hall on Vicary Street was used for exterior footage of the fictional "Ambrose Chapel", located in the film at 17 Ambrose Street, Bayswater. Filming took place on Thursday June 16th, 1955.[1]

A temporary belfry, through which Ben (James Stewart) later escapes, was added to the roof of the building for the establishing shots. For use of the building, St. Saviour's Church were paid £75, which apparently was subsequently used to fund repairs on the building.[2]

The shots of the rear of the building, showing the Drayton's driving Hank away, were filmed back at the studio using a matte painting — in reality, the rear of the hall was not accessible by car. Likewise, the interior of the hall was constructed back on the Paramount sound stages by production designer Henry Bumstead.

Jo makes a phone call

Having left her husband inside the hall, Jo (Doris Day) makes a phone call from a red telephone box. Although the call was filmed in the studio using rear projection, a Vicary Street sign can be clearly seen on the building behind Day. After she ends the phone call, the film cuts to a location shot of Day exiting the telephone box and crossing over to the western-side of Vicary Street.[3] However, in a slight geographic continuity error, the next shot shows her back on the eastern side of the street.

Vicary Street was originally named Victoria Street and the hall was St. Matthew's School for Infants, established sometime around the 1860s. By 1895, the street had been renamed to Vicary and the school was marked as a "Parochial Room" on local maps and, by 1916, simply "Hall". St. Saviour's Church itself was built in the late 1890s and it seems likely they took ownership of the hall around that time.

The location of the St. Saviour's Church Hall is shown in green on this 1952 map of the area, whilst St. Saviour's Church can be seen nearby on Lambert Road.[4] The telephone box used by Doris Day is shown in red, on the corner of Vicary Street and Blenheim Gardens.

Google Maps

Approximate location of former Church Hall:

Nearest Locations


Notes & References

  1. Alfred Hitchcock's London: A Reference Guide to Locations (2009) by Gary Giblin, pages 22-23
  2. The MacGuffin: Ambrose Chapel
  3. During the dissolve at the end of the shot, Day actually appears to be heading off west down Blenheim Gardens rather than back towards the hall.
  4. The church is currently known as the Brixton New Testament Church Of God.