For those of you who are fans of George Michael, Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Paul Feig or just lovers of Christmas feel good movies, you’ll probably love this film.
Don’t let the Guardian’s one star Grinch-like review put you off if you haven’t seen it, especially if you enjoy looking around London’s streets for the unusual, unique, hidden or simply beautiful nuggets of history which give this city so much magic.
So in honour of Last Christmas and its litany of film locations, here’s a guide to the best bits…
1. Lombard Street Grasshopper
If you enjoy ‘looking up’ like the character Tom (played by Henry Golding) in Last Christmas, then you’ll simply adore this street. The historical home of banking in London and described as the Wall Street of London until the 1980s, there are still wonderful reminders of a time when hanging signs used to dominate our streets. For illiterate people a picture was far more effective than writing, and a large hanging sign could help people easily identify an establishment.
Some places went even further, with a chop house called the George and Vulture around the corner having a real vulture on a chain outside so customers would know where to come for a beer (if they could get past the dangerous bird first!)
In the late 17th century and 18th centuries, some of the signs were made out of stone to be less of a fire hazard. But in 1718 one of the signs on nearby Bride Street was so heavy it pulled the entire front of a building down and killed four passers by! By the 19th century most of them had disappeared, but for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902 it was decided to put 23 of them back.
The grasshopper is believed to be the only original one and was the emblem of the very wealthy Gresham family. When his family moved out of the building, it was taken over by a bank called Martins, who stayed here until they were bought by Barclays Bank in 1969 along with 19 other private banks, including one called Gosling and Sharpe, which had the symbol of Three Squirrels hanging outside. Another bank along here was Lloyds which had a black horse which they still use today.
2. Brydges Place
Tom describes it as the narrowest alleyway in London. It is 34 inches at its widest point. There is another alleyway called Emerald Court which is 27 inches, but hey who cares?
A couple of tips if you are trying to locate this tiny passageway. Head for the Colosseum on St Martin’s Lane near to Trafalgar Square, then use your nose. As well as being the second narrowest alleyway in London it is most probably the second smelliest. Not so romantic!
Alternatively, you could book a private tour with Matt and he’ll take you on a tour of all the Last Christmas film locations – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
3. Philpott Lane Mice
Continuing to follow in Tom’s footsteps, look up on the side of what was once a 19th century spice merchants, you’ll find a couple of cute mice fighting over a piece of cheese. Legend has it that they are a rather macabre reminder of a lunch break which went horribly wrong. During construction of the building, two workers were having lunch on the roof; one of the men turned his back for a few moments, and when he looked back his cheese sandwich had disappeared… Becoming uncontrollably ‘hangry’ he blamed his colleague who was pushed off the roof in the resulting argument, only for the cheese sandwich to be discovered in the grip of two cheeky mice in the other corner of the roof!
4. St Mary’s Church, Wyndham Place
This is the church which was used as a homeless kitchen in the movie and where Kate busks outside, raising some money for the charity. Then of course organised a concert with none other than Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley in the audience!
When you arrive here you’ll be struck by why the movie producers chose this as a perfect location, as it really is a truly gorgeous church -perfectly proportioned, elegant and imposing. Cudos to the architect Robert Smirke who designed it 200 years ago.
On this occasion, movie magic reflects reality, as the church hosts a monthly meal for rough sleepers and people in vulnerable housing situations.
Come on a walking tour with us and discover all the film locations from the movie and also a little of the real history behind them! I will be leading a handful of walks in December 2021 on Saturday afternoons. If you are keen to join me and other like minded fans, Book Here.
Alternatively, if you are keen on a private walk, email us at email@example.com for more information.