Islington has a rich history in film and is used in many modern movies. Jaime Pond, editor of Anglonerd magazine, has compiled three self-guided walking tours through this London borough: The Clerkenwell Tour, the Upper Street Tour, and the Highbury Tour. Whether you take the tours separately or all in one go, you better get your walking shoes on, movie buffs! (You can also take this tour virtually with Google Maps.)
The Upper Street Tour
Welcome back. If you’re joining us from the Clerkenwell tour, you’ll find you are now at the base of Upper Street, ready to head north through film history. If you’re just joining us for the first time, you can easily get here by taking the Northern line to Angel Station. Remember the time Liam Neeson pops up at this station during The Other Man (2008)? Let’s follow his character, Peter, as he heads north on Upper Street to Camden Passage. You can get into Camden Passage a few blocks up on the right. Follow Peter—or Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmel in Fever Pitch (1997) if you prefer—through the passage and then take a moment to browse the market. This is where I bought my favorite handmade paper notebook, thumb ring made of bone, and neon orange tie. I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your fancy. If you follow the Passage south, you’ll find Frederick’s restaurant, where the characters in the new psychological thriller The Ones Below dine. This David Farr flick, starring Clemence Poesy and David Morrissey, is filmed almost entirely in Islington. It follows two neighboring couples in London, each expecting their first child but with varied emotions about the big change to come.
If you follow the Passage north, you’ll find Pierrepont Arcade, an indoor market that sells antiques on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and books on Thursdays and Fridays. It was here that, in July 2015, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon filmed a scene in their forthcoming The Clash biopic, London Calling, which is based on the recording of the band’s 1979 album by the same name.
Back on Upper Street, still heading north, pass Islington Green on your right. Just around back of the Green is Into Film, a place for youth who are interested in film to get training in setting up a film club and making movies.
Beyond that, you’ll find the Everyman Screen on the Green, a cinema more than one hundred years old—one of the oldest cinemas in the U.K. Incidentally, the cinema does feature in the 1988 teen flick Just Ask for a Diamond, based on The Falcon’s Malteser by Anthony Horowitz. If you’re feeling peckish at this point, there’s a great restaurant called Café La Divina at 134 Upper Street that has a huge collection of oldie movie posters on the walls.
Farther up Upper Street, just past Richmond Grove, is Town Hall, where Islington residents can get married—like two characters in the 2006 Brittany Murphy/Catherine Tate movie Love and Other Disasters (not telling which two characters—it’s a surprise!)—or register deaths and births—like how the two expecting mothers in the previously mentioned The Ones Below register their children in Town Hall. Islington Film Office’s Karen Everett says, “Organising to film in the real town hall involved extensive negotiations, but was thoroughly worth it for the authenticity. It’s a delight to see Islington playing such a strong role in a film that is unmistakably about Londoners.” (FilmFixer)
Keep heading north on Upper Street, and I’ll meet you at the end where we’ll begin our Highbury tour next month.
Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.
References: Lights, Camera…Islington! | Islington Film Locations Map | LaDivinia.co.uk | Film Club | Camden Passage website and Twitter | Uncut | FilmFixer