Violent Playground

Date: 1958
Director: Basil Dearden
Production Company: Rank Organisation

Stars: Stanley Baker, Anne Heywood, David McCallum, Peter Cushing, John Slater
Location(s): Liverpool & London

Region(s): ,


A Liverpool street gang, bossed by Rock n’ Roll hoodlum – Johnny (David McCallum) at odds with Stanley Baker a police juvenile liason officer, who is also in love with the gang leaders sister (Anne Heywood).

Additional Information:

Stills and now images by John Owens: The film is mainly shot around the ‘Gerard Garden’ flats and surrounding streets – both of which were demolished in the 1980s – which makes ‘now’ shots difficult. But the use of the “Liverpool” church in Capture 15 is the fourth use of this remarkable building. Strange, curious co-incidence or deliberate inclusion for more sinister motives. The Cinema of Darkness explores some of the possibilities.

Diana remembers watching some of the filming and shares her memories with us, they can  be read by clicking on – Diana’s Memories


Buy this film on Amazon link

Can you help:

If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.

Taken from Picturegoer Film annual 1958-59, Robert Ottaway, Odhams Press. - Liverpool. The flats in the background of the photograph were part of what was Gerard Crescent and this particular block of flats were known locally as the "holy block" because a number of residents on the block had connection in the local parish church of St. Joseph's. The block overlooked Gerard Crescent and backed onto Christian Street in Liverpool. Where Stanley Baker is sitting was waste land and was known locally as the "hills" they led down to Scotland road in Liverpool ~ John Glover

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John Owens writes: I found this on the internet. It's a still from short film made locally by Paul Sudbury - about Gerard Gardens - titled 'Gardens of Stone'. It shows their demolition in 1987 and is interesting because someone has painted on the building 'Violent Playground 30 years On'.

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Taken from the Maurice Speed film review 1958.

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Postcard view of Gerard Gardens.

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Taken from the Maurice Speed film review 1958 - Stanley Baker outside a row of terraced houses.

Unidentified Liverpool street with the Anglican Cathedral in the distance.

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I believe the location of this scene is Windsor Street, Toxteth, Liverpool. Colin Guthrie.

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Stanley Baker and John Slater outside Rose Hill Police Station.

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Outside the Rose Hill police station.

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Row of shops - exact location not known.

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Same shops as in vp005.

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Walking towards Gerard Gardens - exact location not identified.

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Stanley Baker and kids walking towards Gerard Gardens.

The 'Scotland Road' school.

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This is actually St Mary's and St Michael's school in Sutton Street, London.

Anne Heywood outside Stanley Hospital in Stanley Road Liverpool.

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Stanley Hospital has gone - but the shop building at the corner of Fountains road is still there (had to take this from a slightly different angle due to trees). John Owens.

View of shops on the opposite side of Stanley Road.

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Same row of shops today - the Post Office and pillar box are still there - copyright Google Streetview.

Anne Heywood approaching the church.

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The church is St Mary's in Rowington Close Paddington London - the same church was used in 'The Blue Lamp' and other films. - photo copyright Google Streetview.

Anne Heywood and Peter Cushing at the church entrance.

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See vp012n. And see Cinema of Darkness for the possiblility of an unpleasant association with this location and a very overused one in Hammersmith.

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Open air market...., I believe this would've been Paddy's Market which has been running from Victorian times until this day. Great Homer Street, Liverpool, near to the Scottie Road and very close to the rest of the filming locations at Gerard Gardens, reports Carol Jones (SJ)

The building in the background is St Anne's school in Christian Street.

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Buildings in this area have been demolished but this photo shows the school.Photo from Liverpool Record Office, courtesy of Ged Fagan and his website

Kelly's Directory shows 'Cassons Temperance Hotel' at 19 Lord Nelson Street.

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The building is still there - now a private residence. Snapped by John Owens.

Entrance to the Hotel.

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A close up of vp003n. John Owens.

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An athletic ground/stadium - not identified.

View from Commutation Row looking towards William Brown street - with St George's Hall to the left.

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No changes to this location. John Owens.

Outside Central Station in Ranelagh street - looking towards Church street/Hanover street.

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The facade of Central Station has gone - but the buildings in the background can still be identified. John Owens.

David McCallum about to jump from a hotel window.

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This window is actually at the rear of a department store building in School Lane - where vp008 and vp009 were shot. John Owens.

School Lane - with Church Alley (and crowd) in the background.

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School Lane - unchanged. John Owens.

Church Alley - looking towards the 'Old Post Office' pub.

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School Lane again - the pub is still there. John Owens.

The Scotland Road school again - see vp009.

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St Mary's and St Michael's school in Sutton Street, London again - the George Tavern pub in Commercial Road in the background. Photo copyright Google Streetview.

Another shot of vp024.

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Same as vp024n.

View from the school looking down Sutton Street.

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Sutton Street today.

The school with the 'Liverpool Plastics Co' in the background.

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The 'Liverpool Plastics Co' is actually a building in Sutton Street, Poplar, London. At the time of filming it was a dairy and it is Sutton St Stepney London E1 rather than Poplar E14. Paul Singleton

The school with the church at the end.

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Another one of the school with a building in Sutton Street in the background.

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Same as vp027n.

View down Sutton Street.

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Sutton Street now.

The 'Liverpool Plastics Co' again.

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Peter Cushing - with London Trolley bus behind Anne Heywood's head.

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Commercial Road London - the windows of the buildings in the background can be identified.

Stanley Baker and Anne Heywood - a Melia's Grocery shop is visible in the background. Kelly's directory shows this shop at No 1 Scotland Road, Liverpool.

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These buildings have all been demolished but this old photo shows the Melia's shop. Photo from Liverpool Record Office, courtesy of Ged Fagan from his website - - he confirms the location.

The church again - see vp012 and vp013.

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See vp012n.

Stanley Baker - looking towards the Fontenoy Gardens tenements with shops underneath .He is standing at the side of the Birmingham Arms pub.

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The buildings have all gone but this photo was taken from a different angle from the pub towards the flats and shops.Thanks to Ged Fagan who provided the information and this photo - his website -

Stanley Baker walking across waste ground - heading towards Byrom Street, Liverpool.

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This photo of the same location was taken 10 years later and shows the completed Liverpool Polytechnic building to the left. Photo courtesy of Ged Fagan - see his website -

From a publicity still I think. It's Bell Street near Edgware Road tube station in London. R.J. Sutton was a junk shop, and where the stock never seemed to change from when I first knew it in the late Sixties until it closed about five years ago. Adrian (Grepnold)

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It's clearly the Mr Sutton that I remember, standing at the door of his shop. Adrian (Grepnold) Thanks Adrian, well done......again.