Date: 1953
Director: Henry Cornelius
Production Company: J. Arthur Rank Organisation, La Société des Films Sirius

Stars: John Gregson, Kenneth More, Dinah Sheridan, Kay Kendall
Location(s): Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hertfordshire, London, Middlesex, Surrey

Region(s): ,


Two friends enter their veteran cars in the annual London to Brighton run and to prove whose vehicle is the better, race back home on the following day.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson with uncredited comparison shots by JT More information about the demolished One Pin public house can be found by linking here And see for more on other locations featured. Jeannie Elgar remembers the filming in Pimlico when she was a little girl and was actually in a crowd scene when they were told to cheer as the cars went by. In retrospect she believes that it could not have been an Oscar winning performance as it was cut! There was a nightclub along the embankment which the stars frequented, Jeannie asked for Kenneth More’s autograph . . . . . . but was refused!

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Two Barristers walk across a courtyard of the Royal Courts of Justice in London WC2.

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On an open day at the Courts, Peter took this comparison through the gates.

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Alan McKim (John Gregson) bumps into the Barristers as he rushes out of the building. The Royal Courts of Justice off Strand.

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Another Barrister tries to sidestep as Alan runs up the steps from the courtyard. Through the screen in the background can be seen buildings on Carey Street WC2.

Alan catches up with a John (Patrick Young) and asks him to put his cloak and wig into his locker. This part of the Royal Courts of Justice was also seen in 'No Place for Jennifer', 'Steptoe and Son' and 'A Pair of Briefs'.

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This shot was taken by Peter through the railings and a gap in the security screen on Carey Street.

Now free for the weekend, Alan runs across the Strand outside the Royal Courts. The location was used in 'Action for Slander','The Assassination Bureau Limited', 'Libel' and 'Brothers in Law'.

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Peter captures the scene in 2016 noting that the crossing has been relocated and now a combined Belisha Beacon lamp standard. (RL)

After starting his treasured Genevieve, Alan climbs aboard and signals to pull into the traffic. Strand in London WC2.

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Now. Law Courts in the Strand, London.

In a cloud of exhaust, Alan drives the veteran car away. Facing west on Strand with St. Clement Danes church to the right.

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Peter snapped the same corner, and trees, but there's been some rebuilding across the road.

Arriving in the mews where he lives with his wife Wendy, Alan parks up and enters the empty house. Rutland Mews South, London SW7.

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The same location now. SJ.

Wendy McKim (Dinah Sheridan) returns from shopping. At the time of filming this was known as Rutland Mews.

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Changes abound, but still some matches, in Rutland Mews South. SJ

The couple's friend Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth More) turns up on the eve of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Rutland Mews South in Knightsbridge SW7. The location was also seen in 'The Killing of Sister George'.

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The white mews house survives. SJ

As owners gather with their cars at the start of the run, Leslie Mitchell (Himself) interviews Alan for BBC radio. Hyde Park in London W2.

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From JT's collection of classic car photographs.

The first vehicles leave the park. The run is open to cars built before 1905, some nine years after the ‘Benz Patent Motorwagen’ took to the road in 1886 with a November patent date for the invention. Hyde Park Corner in W1 with Apsley House to the right.

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Peter records the loss of those window shutters. (RL)

Held on the first Sunday in November and first taking place in 1896, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the longest running motoring event in the world.

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Much quieter in The Mall for Peter's visit as it was partially closed off to traffic. (RL)

Alan and Wendy head along The Mall. London SW1 with Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial in the background.

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Now. SJ

Ambrose and his companion Rosalind Peters (Kay Kendall) cross Westminster Bridge. In the background can be seen the Houses of Parliament with the base of the Clock Tower, now the Elizabeth Tower, to the right of centre.

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Neither a perfect angle nor sharpness! SJ

Struggling with the wheel, Ambrose tries to steer away from disused tramlines. Kennington Road in London SE1. The road was also seen in 'Melody'. Along the road to the right of centre was JT's soldier shop.

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The shop was first at 36, then 44 Kennington Road, c. 1960-75. SJ

Cars round the corner at the junction of Antrobus Street and and Grosvenor Road in Pimlico SW1 recognised by Sam Mahoney. Ray Simmons advises that "The glass structure to the left is the Accumalator Tower for the Churchill Gardens Estate heating system which was supplied from Battersea Power Station across the Thames". The location was seen in 'Dance Hall'.

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And right in the distance, the tower of Westminster Cathedral on Victoria Street. SJ.

More cars travel along another section of Kennington Road. This is just south of the junction with Brook Driveand Mark Brady adds that the background greenery is Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and between the trees can be seen the Imperial War Museum which was seen in 'Curse of the Golem'.

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To replace the Google street view. SJ

Not far into the countryside, Alan brings Genevieve to a halt when engine trouble strikes. Batchworth Lane, Batchworth Heath in Hertfordshire with the arched entrance to the Moor Park Golf Club in the left background. The location is also seen in 'Diplomatic Passport'.

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John Hicks provides this shot of the same location from the safety of the grass verge. (RL)

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A Newsreel Cameraman (Stanley Escane) appears alongside and films an embarrassing moment after Wendy spills coffee over her dress.

Alan watches as the camera van drives away. Facing north-west on London Road on Batchworth Heath between Rickmansworth and Northwood with the Green Man public house on the right.

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Dave Buckley took this shot noting that the trees have grown considerably and it is difficult to see the pub which has since been styled as The Olde Greene Manne.

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Walking back to the car, Alan can't see Wendy who has ducked behind a bush after taking clothes from her overnight bag. John Hicks advises that the house has been replaced by a modern close now screened by large conifers. (RL)

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Having changed out of her wet dress, Wendy climbs back into the Darracq as Alan starts the engine. Batchworth Lane with a row of now demolished and replaced houses on the right.

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Further on towards Brighton, Genevieve's steering fails, sending the car all over the road.

Cars begin to arrive at the finish line on Madeira Drive in Brighton, Sussex. The location was seen in 'Be My Guest' and 'Oh! What a Lovely War'.

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The arches are now structurally unsafe and have been fenced off. SD

More cars reach the south coast resort. This is Brunswick Square in Hove, East Sussex.

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The location is quite unchanged in this picture from Alan Platt.

The veterans make their way to the sea front. Old Steine, Brighton with the Royal York Buildings in the left background.

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A more modern view of Old Steine, just inland from Brighton's remaining pier.

The camera pans to follow the car. The roundabout at the junction of Grand Junction Road, Madeira Drive and Old Steine with the Royal Albion Hotel providing the backdrop. Norman was here in 'One Good Turn'.

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Genevieve arriving in Brighton at the end of the 2017 London to Brighton veteran car run. SD

Panning further brings the Pier entrance into view. The location was used in 'Villain' and 'The Night We Got the Bird', 'La Course à l'échalote', 'Carry On at Your Convenience' and, facing west, 'Penny Points to Paradise'.

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A similar view now.

Ambrose and Rosalind reach the finish but Alan and Wendy are no where to be seen. Looking down onto Madeira Drive from The Colonnade with the Palace Pier stretching out to sea in the distance.

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Seen on the day of the 2017 London To Brighton veteran car run. The finish line is now much nearer the pier than it was in the film. Viewed from Marine Parade as Madeira Terrace is now inaccessible. SD

That evening, the Hotel Doorman (Arthur Lovegrove) at the Metropole spots a lone veteran car approach. The Hotel Metropole on King's Road, Brighton in East Sussex. The location was seen in 'Alfie Darling'.

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Now with a much nicer canopy. SD

The Doorman crosses to meet Alan and Wendy as they finally reach Brighton. Facing east on King's Road.

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Now. As far into the road as it was safe to stand. SD

Alan asks his wife to wait in the car whilst he checks that their room is ready.

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Now, with Tarmac replacing the coloured paving slabs. SD

Having cancelled the reservation after an argument on the previous evening, Alan runs back to Wendy to tell her that the hotel is full. Outside the Metropole Hotel, Brighton

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The same entrance now.

Lunchtime the following day sees Ambrose coming out of a pub with drinks for Rosalind and himself. The One Pin public house, Farnham Common in Buckinghamshire found by Pam Archer who says "The pub was demolished in 2009 or 2010 to make way for five houses".

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However in 2013 it was still on trading on Google Streetview . . . sorted by Pam Archer!

Alan and Wendy turn up in Genevieve and the two men reiterate their agreeing to a race back to London. Collum Green Road outside the One Pin in Farnham Common. In the background can be seen one of Slough Corporation's reservoirs.

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Same location, different angle. (PW)

Ambrose has trouble starting his Spyker after Alan drives away. The One Pin at Farnham Common.

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Confirmation that the pub no longer stands. (PW)

Customers help Ambrose to start the car with a push. Facing the junction of One Pin Lane, Parish Lane, Hedgerley Hill and Collum Green Road in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire.

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Captured from the roadway to avoid trespass. (PW)

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One last push and the car starts. Antony Blair identifies this as Hedgerley Hill, about 300 metres from the One Pin pub.

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And here's Antony's proof.

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A Traffic Policeman (Geoffrey Keen) and his Colleague (Harold Siddons) watch as Genevieve approaches.

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After overtaking other vehicles on the road, the veteran car speeds past the waiting Policeman.

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The Officers take off after Genevieve and Alan brings the car to a halt.

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Having talked his way out of a speeding ticket, Alan and Wendy continue on their way.

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Trailing behind in the race, Ambrose and Rosalind are held up by a flock of sheep.

Diverting from the lane blocked with sheep, Ambrose drives through a ford. John Hicks identifies this as Hawkswood Lane near Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire, a mere stone's throw from Pinewood Studios. The location was seen in 'The Final Test', 'Don't Talk to Strange Men' and 'Poet's Pub'.

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The long hot summer of 2018 has taken it's toll. (PW)

Ambrose helps Rosalind from the water after she pushes the stalled car from the ford. Where the Alder Bourne flows across Hawkswood Lane located by John Hicks.

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And John also took this comparison.

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When Genevieve overheats, Wendy goes to fetch water. In front of The Mill House next to Stanwell Mill on Horton Road, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex.

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Antony Blair provides this capture. Image copyright Google.

Ambrose and Rosalind overtake as Wendy returns from the river. The river is the Colne and the mill is Stanwell Mill, Stanwell Moor now in Surrey.

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John Hicks took this shot of the same location.

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Another breakdown sees the Darracq standing at the side of the road. Russell Williamson advises that this is looking north on Stanwell Moor Road running between the King George IV and Staines reservoirs.

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The same location from Antony Blair. Image copyright Google.

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A kind gentleman offers to help and tows Genevieve with his Allard Roadster. This view is from the top of the walls of the Staines Reservoir looking down on to the A3044 Stanwell Moor Road.

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A Mechanic (Patrick Westwood) returns to his workshop after filling a car with fuel just as the Allard towing Genevieve turns up. Was there ever an Asta Garage or was it a set? Stanwell Moor Road was known as Stanwell New Road at the time of filming.

Ambrose pulls up at the garage and accuses Alan of cheating for accepting the tow. In the background stands one of the sites operated by Merriman's Filtering Media Ltd.

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Another classic from JT's collection of photographs.

Following a phone call from Alan, a Publican (Charles Lamb) stand in the road as Ambrose and Rosalind approach. The Jolly Woodman public house in Burnham Beeches. The pub also features in 'The Man in the Moon', 'Mr Quilp', 'The Deadly Bees' and 'Carry On Dick'.

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A welcome sight after a long drive. (PW)

The Publican tells Ambrose that there has been an accident involving the McKims back along the road. The Jolly Woodman on Littleworth Road in Burnham Beeches, Berkshire located by Balraj Gill and Neil Dunnett.

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Not much change here, says TK who provided this photo.

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As the miles pass, Alan smiles after tricking Ambrose into turning his car around.

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Alan spots the Spyker coming in the opposite direction.

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Rosalind laughs as Ambrose turns his car around again but Wendy is disgusted at the prank.

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The architecture changes as Genevieve nears the capital.

A suitable place to stop is found and Wendy runs across the road to a pub. Facing The De Burgh Arms Hotel on High Street from Tavistock Road in Yiewsley, Middlesex with the Great Western Main Line on the extreme right.

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The De Burgh Arms now, submitted by David Macleod. (RL)

Alan turns to see Ambrose and Rosalind catch up. To the left stands the Peoples Snack Bar on Tavistock Road.

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And the Peoples Snack Bar is still standing and open for business.

The two Police Officers arrive as a crowd gathers around Ambrose and Alan when they start to quarrel. The corner of High Street and Tavistock Road.

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Michael Mowatt and his wife send us this shot of corner as it is now. (RL)

After the pals make up, the girls run back to the cars when they start to raise their voices again. Looking into Tavistock Road from High Street, Yiewsley with the Great Western railway line on the embankment to the left.

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Michael and his wife provide this capture of the same scene today. (RL)

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The engines are started and the race to Westminster Bridge is back on. Tavistock Road in Yiewsley, Middlesex.

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From a similar position by Antony Blair.

The two cars tear away towards London. Looking towards Colham Bridge on Yiewsley's High Street with the Johnson's Wax Company office top centre.

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A rather changed view now.

Mark Bradly identifies this as Old Kent Road in SE1 just south of the junction with Dunton Road adding "The shops to the immediate right have been replaced by a Tesco store but the Dun Cow public house on the right corner remains as a surgery".

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From a similar viewpoint. Image copyright Google Streetview.

The race continues - albeit in the wrong direction! Mark Bradly identifies this as Old Kent Road with The Castle public house on the left corner of Marcia Street and George Carter's shop to the right.

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The same redeveloped corner. Image copyright Google Streetview.

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George Carter & Sons' shop stood at the corner of Old Kent Road and Marcia Road before being demolished. Picture provided by Mark Bradly corrects.

The two cars approach a pedestrian crossing just as a Little Boy (Christopher Warbey) and Little Girl (Lesley Dudley) step onto the road. Facing west on The Broadway, Uxbridge Road in Southall, Middlesex.

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Pedestrianised but still open to traffic. (PW)

The two youngsters talk and dawdle across the road. The Broadway in Southall was also seen in 'Escape by Night'.

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No crossing needed these days. (PW)

Alan and Wendy urge the children to hurry. Ralph Hogan saw this scene filmed in Southall Broadway and in the right distance stands Southall Town Hall.

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Indeed he did. (RL)

The Little Girl drops her ice cream on in front of Genevieve as Ambrose and Rosalind pull away. The Broadway with the corner of Herbert Road to the right.

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The same corner. (PW)

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Rosalind looks back to see Genevieve approaching as Ambrose makes adjustments to gain speed.

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Alan and Wendy overtake. Mark Bradly identifies this as Old Kent Road with the Lord Nelson public house at the corner of Trafalgar Avenue on the left and the Thomas-a-Beckett public house in the centre distance.

Wendy looks back as Genevieve keeps the lead. Old Kent Road with George Elliston House on the Avondale Square Estate to the right. Location found by Ray Simmons.

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The same background buildings still stand on Old Kent Road.

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Ambrose attempts to overtake. The tramway crossover identifies the location as the corner of Marlborough Grove on Old Kent Road in SE1.

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Now getting excited, Rosalind and Wendy start to urge their partners on.

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Ambrose takes to the wrong side of the road to finally overtake,

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Roadworks slow Ambrose down. Looking towards Uxbridge on Hillingdon Road.

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The same section of road taken by Antony Blair.

The Lady Driver (Everley Gregg) in front proceeds at a painfully slow speed.

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A modern view of Hillingdon Road between the Greenway and Orchard Waye is seen in this picture by Matthew McEvoy.

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Once through the roadworks, the Lady Driver keeps to the centre of the road. This section of Hillingdon Road has since been converted to dual carriageway.

Ambrose finds it impossible to overtake. High Street in Uxbridge, Middlesex with the Market Hose to the top centre.

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The now revamped and pedestrianised Uxbridge High Street by Matthew McEvoy.

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Tempers fray as progress is slowed. Approaching the corner of Windsor Street on High Street, Uxbridge.

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Antony Blair provides his comparison.

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At a corner, an opportunity arises to finally be rid of the Lady Driver. The corner of New Windsor Street and Chapel Street in Uxbridge.

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The maneuver fails and Ambrose ends up sandwiched between the woman's car and a truck. Outside F & V Payne's hardware shop on Chapel Street in Uxbridge. Every building in this shot has been demolished.

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After passing the trapped Spyker, Genevieve begins to fall apart. Identified as The Crescent in Southall, Middlesex by Antony Blair.

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A lovely match, captured by Antony Blair.

The Darracq approaches a busy road junction. Facing the corner of Hercules Road and Newham Terrace from Kennington Road in Lambeth SE1, close to where JT once had his soldier shop, "Soldiers Soldiers". The shop on Kennington Road is closed, but the website soldiers on.

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New building and unrecognisable. SJ

A Constable (Frank Twigg) on point duty signals Genevieve to a stand. The junction of Kennington Road with Hercules Road and Westminster Bridge Road.

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There is a worrying condemned look about these properties. SJ

While Genevieve is delayed, Ambrose and Rosalind catch up. Looking south-west along Hercules Road.

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While the right has gone, the left remains so we're on the correct street. SJ

Ambrose draws up alongside Alan. Hercules Road in SE1.

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The tobacconist survives and is unaware of it's immortality on the silver screen.

While an Old Gentleman reminisces with Alan about the Darracq, the Policeman signals traffic to move on and Ambrose speeds away. The junction of Kennington Road, Hercules Road and Westminster Bridge Road with the tower of Christ Church to the right. Since rebuilding in the late 1950s, the tower is all that remains of the building.

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Lambeth North tube and, in the middle, the old MI6 building known as Century House, now flats on Pearman Street. SJ

Now confident of winning, Ambrose sprints along Albert Embankment. Lambeth Bridge spans the River Thames in the background.

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Difficult to include the Lambeth river fire station as well as the bridge and Palace of Westminster. SJ

Now resigned to losing, Alan pulls away when the Policeman again signals for him to move. The garage in the background stands at the corner of Hercules Road and Westminster Bridge Road.

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I do believe the garage was open until the mid-80s. The pub, the Horse and Groom, for a while Horse and now Horse and Stables to the right still stands on Westminster Bridge Road. SJ

The corner of Hercules Road and Westminster Bridge Road in Lambeth with Baylis Road in the right background.

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The same, partly rebuilt location.

Wendy realises that her husband has lost Genevieve to pay of the wager with Ambrose. Albert Embankment in Vauxhall SE1 with buildings belonging to Providence Wharf on the right.

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Well, as good a guess I can give. 93, just visible in the "then", belongs to Peninsula Heights (a.k.a Alembic House) which is to my right so it's about here or a little further behind me. SJ

Alan is persuaded to pay cash instead of giving the car away, even though it would leave them penniless. Albert Embankment between Tinworth Street and Black Prince Road.

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Here-ish, looking towards Vauxhall Bridge. SJ

Ambrose tries to placate the owner of a fruit stall after a collision as the McKims catch up once again. Lambeth Palace Road with St.Thomas' Hospital ahead on the right.

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Even in early spring the trees obscure a clear shot. SJ

Not much further on, Genevieve is stopped and Wendy jumps out to retrieve a rear mudguard that has fallen off. Outside Lambeth Palace on Lambeth Palace Road.

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About here. SJ

Another setback as a front tyre bursts. Passing St. Thomas' Hospital on Lambeth Palace Road.

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The left side of the entrance is intact but the right side much altered. SJ

Genevieve struggles onward as Ambrose and Rosalind catch up. JT advises that this is the junction of Stangate and Lambeth Palace Road in Lambeth with buildings on Westminster Bridge Road in the distance. The area has been completely redeveloped.

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It certainly has. SJ

Another shot showing the corner Stangate and Lambeth Palace Road before the trams stopped running in 1952. Unknown submitter and copyright.

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About here? SJ

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Around the corner, sparks fly from the engine and Genevieve comes to a halt. Facing St. Thomas' Mansions on Stangate in SE1. The Westminster Bridge hotel now occupies the site.

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With Ambrose gaining steadily until stalling when stopping abruptly to allow a woman to cross the road, Alan pushes Genevieve towards Westminster Bridge.

Alan struggles along the last few yards with Ambrose almost at his heels. Approaching Westminster Bridge on Westminster Bridge Road in London SE1.

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St. Thomas' Hospital is much further set back now as well as being partially rebuilt. SJ

As he prepares to overtake the opposition to take the prize, Ambrose loses control of his car. Lambeth Palace Road with St. Thomas' Hospital taking up the background.

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Some of the rebuilding mentioned above. SJ

Tramlines steer the Spyker away from the bridge. Looking along Lambeth Palace Road from the junction with Stangate and Westminster Bridge Road.

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Now. SJ

From the bridge, Alan and Weny laugh as they see Ambrose's car disappear in the wrong direction. Westminster Bridge Road with the New Inn public house in the centre and the New Bridge House public house at the corner of York Road to the right.

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Hmm, not quite convinced I'm orientated correctly but this view of sleek red buses may suffice until I find my bearings. SJ

When the hand-brake slips off, Genevieve rolls over the bridge to finish the race. The 2016 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run marked the 130th birthday of what is regarded to be the world's first automobile.

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Yes moody, dark and atmospheric just like the film, er, oh hang on a min . . . SJ