Monster of Highgate Ponds, The (Children’s Film Foundation)

Date: 1961
Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Production Company: Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films

Stars: Ronald Howard, Rachel Clay, Michael Wade, Terry Raven, Frederick Piper, Michael Balfour, Beryl Cooke, Roy Vicente
Location(s): London



Three young friends acquire a giant egg which hatches out into an amiable monster.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson

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An establishing shot of the cottages where Sophie and David Miller live. Willow Cottages on Willow Road in London NW3.

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Due to the surrounding greenery, Peter adjusted his position to get this shot.

Inside, the children wait for their Uncle Dick to arrive. The cottages stand on Willow Road in Hampstead, the same thoroughfare that was seen in 'The Boy Who Turned Yellow'.

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A little alteration over the entrance in Peter's comparison.

At the museum where Uncle Dick works, David finds a huge egg that has been brought back from Malaya. The Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road, London SW7.

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Peter provides this shot of the same spot.

The children head home with their friend Chris (Terry Raven) after David is given the egg. The Natural History Museum in South Kensington.

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The same place, now in colour by Peter.

David (Michael Wade) and Chris remark how warm the egg feels. On Willow Road outside one of the gateways for Willow Cottages.

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Peter found that all looks pretty much the same, only in colour!

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The next day, David and Chris go swimming before school.

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In the school playground, the boys are fascinated by the tiny reptile that hatched from the egg during a lesson.

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The little monster is nicknamed 'Beauty'.

Sophie (Rachel Clay) skips her way home from school and meets the boys at the gate. Looking eastward on Willow Road with the corner of Willoughby Road visible to the extreme left.

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Same wall, re-paved footpath, picture by Peter.

The children are called in for tea by their Mother (Jan Holden). Willow Cottages were originally inhabited by watercress gatherers who harvested watercress from ponds on Hampstead Heath.

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Peter found that the front door was tantalizingly open.

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Mrs. Miller and Sophie go out for a walk before homework. Looking out onto Willow Road in NW3.

Sophie, Chris and David go to the pet shop to buy food for Beauty. Richard Lovejoy found numbers 93/95 Haverstock Hill in NW3.

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And Tris captures the same frontages. The right of the photo shows the southern pillar of the Sir Richard Steele public house.

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When he gets too big to hide at home, Beauty is moved to Highgate Ponds on Hampstead Heath.

Chris earns half a crown towards Beauty's food by helping a Milkman on his round. Facing St John's Downshire Hill chapel from Downshire Hill, Hampstead NW3.

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Sadly there aren't many milkmen left nowadays. Picture from Tris.

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More food is brought to the ever growing monster.

Beauty frightens Miss Haggerty (Beryl Cooke) and her dog. This appears to be the footpath running between No. 2 and No. 3 Hampstead Ponds.

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This is the modern view of the middle Hampstead pond from the bottom of the South Hill Park footpath provided by Tris.

After learning that two men from the fairground are planning to catch Beauty, the children wait for Uncle Dick to return from his latest expedition. Looking into Willoughby Road from the corner of Willow Road.

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The same corner by Peter.

Uncle Dick arrives at the house where the children explain about Beauty. Willow Road in NW3 with the corner of Gayton Road visible to the top right.

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Peter found parking restrictions in place.

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As Uncle Dick and the children move Beauty to safety, Sam (Frederick Piper) and Bert (Michael Balfour) bump into the Heath Warden whilst trying to capture the monster for their fairground menagerie.

A Diver flees when he sees Beauty in the water. Highgate Men's Bathing Pond on Hampstead Heath NW3. The location features in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'.

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Peter wasn't sure about this being the correct pond but a swimmer confirmed the location from the screen capture.

Uncle Dick (Ronald Howard) asks for help from a Showman to transport the monster by barrow. The background buildings are The Gables on the Vale of Health, Hampstead.

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The land is still used by Showmen as Peter's modern view shows.

A tarpaulin is used to cover Beauty. To the left stands East View on the Vale of Health. Since the late 1800s, this fairground site has belonged to the Abbotts family.

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Peter provides this up to date view.

Beauty is wheeled through the streets. Facing south on the Vale of Health towards the junction outside Byron Villas. The Vale of Health is a hamlet formerly known as Hatchett's Bottom.

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More chimneys in Peter's shot.

The group head for the Regent's Canal from where Beauty can swim to the docks to board a ship to Malaya. The Vale of Health with 'Villas on the Heath' as the backdrop.

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Peter found that the location has changed little.

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As they pass a fishmonger, Uncle Dick tells Chris to get some kippers for Beauty to eat. Weedington Road, London NW5.

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When the coast is clear, Uncle Dick suggests a stop so that Beauty can eat the kippers.

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Sam and Bert catch up and spot David feeding the monster that they hope to display in their sideshow.

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Having an idea, Sam tells Bert to buy twelve pairs of kippers. Weedington Road in Kentish Town.

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Uncle Dick and the children turn a corner as the Showman pushes Beauty on his barrow. The junction of Queen's Crescent with Carltoun Street in NW5.

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Sam looks around the corner before he and Bert continue their pursuit. Queen's Crescent at the corner of Carltoun Street. The area has been redeveloped. Queen's Crescent at the corner of Carltoun Street. The area has been redeveloped.

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At last they reach the Regent's canal.

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On the canal side, Sam and Bert watch from behind a wall. The south bank of the Regent's Canal to the west of Lisson Grove.

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The children and Uncle Dick steady Beauty as he enters the water.

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Sam has another idea and the men run to find a bridge from where they can drop their net over Beauty.

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The children are pleased that Beauty starts to swim towards the docks.

While trying to capture the monster, Bert drops the net onto a passing Boatman by mistake. Blomfield Road stands beyond the bridge that carries Westbourne Terrace Road over the Regent's Canal at Little Venice. The bridge features in 'Allez France!', 'Blue Ice', 'Interlude' and 'The Blue Lamp'.

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Blomfield Road now almost hidden by trees. (RL)

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The children and Uncle Dick continue to follow Beauty as he swims along the canal. Facing west between Eyre's Tunnel and Maida Hill Tunnel on the Regent's Canal. The background buildings on Wharncliffe Gardens have all been demolished and replaced. Access to this section ceased in July 2015 for urgent repairs, little urgency seems to have been applied as of September 2016. (RL)

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Beauty comes to the mouth of a tunnel where the towpath ends. The east portal of Maida Hill Tunnel as it disappears under Aberdeen Place NW8.

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While the monster swims through the tunnel, Uncle Dick and the children make their way over the top. The buildings appear to be those of the Wharncliffe Gardens Estate, north of the Regent's Canal as it passes through St. John's Wood.

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Still carrying the kippers, Sam and Bert make their way further along the canal.

Beauty takes a long time to make his way through the tunnel. The eastern portal of Eyre's Tunnel that passes beneath Lisson Grove on the Regent's Canal in NW8.

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The only currently accessible portal. (RL)

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Further along the canal, boats go about their business.

Sam has yet another idea and the two fair men set out to look for a ride to the docks.

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Tris captures Regent's Canal and warehouse from the rising towpath at Camden Lock, north-west side.

A boat comes into view as Sam and Bert hide under a bridge. Regent's Canal, Little Venice with Blomfield Road in the background. The area was seen in 'The Salvage Gang' and 'The End of the Affair'.

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Always a place of calm reflection. (RL)

Sam cadges a lift from the passing boat and Bert nearly falls into the water as he climbs aboard. Looking across Regent's Canal towards properties on Blomfield Road.

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No such antics today. (RL)

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The children call to Beauty as he starts to follow the boat when Sam opens the package of kippers. In the distance, buildings on Lisson Grove tower over the canal.

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Sam and Bert encourage Beauty with the kippers. The west portal of Eyre's Tunnel.

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The two men find a suitable place to coax Beauty out of the canal.

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The crooks entice Beauty into the back of a lorry. Torbay Street off Hawley Road with a locomotive appearing on the North London Line running overhead.

Sophie, Chris, David and Uncle Dick run from the canal side after Beauty starts to follow the trail of kippers laid by Bert and Sam.

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Christopher Matheson provides the location, support material and the best available Google Earth view of Chalk Farm Road by Camden Lock, London NW1. The ramp shown in the film capture no longer exists, the space having been filled, and the whole area that side of the road being "blitzed" in the 60s or 70s. (RL)

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Bert and Sam drive away with Beauty in the back of the stolen lorry.

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Cue the chase around North London. Leybourne Road in NW1. Around the corner, the road becomes Torbay Street.

Uncle Dick reports the stealing of the lorry and the kidnapping of Beauty to a sceptical Policeman. Outside the Fleet Tavern on Parkhill Road in NW3.

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Tris provides this image looking north along Parkhill Road towards Fleet Road. The shops and pub here were replaced by Neve Brown's Dunboyne Road housing in the early 1970s.

With Bert at the wheel, the lorry heads back towards the fair ground on Hampstead Heath. This is Savernake Road NW3 with All Hallows Church in the centre distance.

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Tris captures the view east along Constantine Road towards Savernake Road's All Hallows Church.

The sign reads Lisburne Road NW3 and this is the junction with Constantine Road.

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Looking west across the junction of Constantine Road and Lisburne Road. An external flight of steps has since been added. Image from Tris.

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A Policeman stops the lorry to allow pedestrians to cross the road. The junction of Lismore Circus and Rochford Street with The Wheatsheaf public house prominent.

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Beauty takes the Policeman's helmet as the lorry drives on. The corner of Lismore Circus and Allcroft Road with the wall hiding the railway running between Kentish Town and West Hampstead.

Uncle Dick gets into a squad car with the children to help the police catch the villains. Parkhill Road looking north to the junction with Fleet Road. Many of the background buildings still stand but Parkhill Road was redeveloped in the early 1970s.

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Tris advises that this is the view north along Parkhill Road towards Fleet Road. Some buildings survive and Fleet Primary School can be seen in the distance.

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A group of children walk along the street.

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When Beauty drops the helmet, the children run to get it before the Policeman.

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Police cars start to chase the fair men as they speed on their way. The corner of Heriot Place and Lismore Circus in NW5.

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The camera pans with lorry. The long demolished Lismore Circus in Gospel Oak.

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Allcroft Road with the tower of St. Martins Church just visible on the extreme right. The modern Wellesley Road now follows this part of Allcroft Road.

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Lismore Circus at the corner of Lismore Road with The Wheatsheaf pub in the left diatance. An almost identical shot was used in 'Smashing Time'.

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Looking into Lamble Street from Lismore Circus with the corner of Lismore Gardens in the centre. Lamble Street is ready for demolition and the background tower block is the, then, newly built Barrington Court.

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Sam watches the road as Bert drives on.

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This is the end of Lismore Road where it meets Lismore Circus. The corner was also seen in 'Smashing Time'.

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Haverstock Hill Station on the corner of Lismore Circus and Rochford Street. The station closed to passengers in 1916 and the building was used by an engineering firm until 1967 before demolition two years later.

A Police Officer catches Sam as he runs away when the lorry is brought to a halt. Parkhill Road NW3 with Wood Field flats to the right.

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The view south along Parkhill Road with Wood Field flats to the right. Picture by Tris.

Sam struggles to escape as Bert hides in the back of the lorry. Parkhill Road in Belsize Park.

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Tris provides this shot of Parkhill Road's Victorian houses, seemingly unchanged.

Uncle Dick and the boys help beauty from the back of the lorry. Wood Field flats on Parkhill Road form the background.

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The view north across Parkhill Road towards Wood Field flats from Tris.

As Bert is captured, Sam is pushed into a waiting squad car. Parkhill Road in NW3 with garages belonging to properties on Tasker Road to the right of centre.

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This is the view south-west from Parkhill Road towards Tasker Road, Image by Tris.

A motorcycle escort is provided as Beauty is driven to the docks. The corner building to the right of top centre is a K Shoe Shop.

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Christopher Matheson has identified that the K Shoe Shop is now a Metro Bank and sits on the corner of High Holborn with Southampton Row that goes off to the right. His Google Earth shot confirms. (RL)

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The small motorcade leaves the city behind. Christopher Matheson has identified this as East India Dock Road, London E14 just after passing Abbott Road prior to crossing Bow Creek. (RL)

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The junction of Barking Road and Silvertown Way E16 with Liverpool Road in the background and the cooling towers of and West Ham Power Station top left.

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A level crossing is passed over to enter the Port of London's King George V Dock.

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Uncle Dick greets an Officer from the ship that will take Beauty to Malaya.