Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Marble Hill House

Q2. Kind Hearts and Coronets

внимание друзья!, for question 2, this film was also shown as a play/musical at some theatres with the title 'A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder' but the 1949 film version of the story does seem to have had the title 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'.

The inititial clues seem to place us in Marble Hill Park, in the beautiful borough of Richmond, in London. In the park (according to English heritage) lies an elegant white Palladian villa, constructed c 18th century for a mistress of an upstart Hanoverian pretender to the throne, called George II. The Lady's name was Henrietta Howard (countess of Suffolk, no less), born (depending on which sources you check) c1688/1689.

A 186 acre park which lies to the north north east of the Marble Hill House, is most likely Gunnersbury park (some claim that the park is named after king Canute's niece Gunylda). This seems to have been owned by the aforementioned upstart Hanoverian pretender's second daughter, princess Amelia and her bath house is listed as one of the features worth visiting there, in the London borough of Hounslow's local history and heritage page.

Travelling north past Gunnersbury park would bring us to a suburb/town called Ealing and this is where the Ealing studios were, where some of the scenes from a 1949 film called 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' , starring the late great Alec Guinness, were shot. Guinness is said in some references to have played the parts of eight murder victims in this movie and the puzzle author may possibly be referring to Sibelia's house at 31 Grange Road, Ealing, where one scene was allegedly filmed, though a large part of it was most likely shot at the studios.

The puzzle writer was probably driving north on the B455 South Ealing/St Mary's road which would bring him past Gunnersbury park, past the Ealing studios and Grange road and thence close to Mattock lane, where the house of the architect (Sir John Soane, born c 1753) who designed the Bank of England once lived (c 1800 - 1810), one Pitzhanger Manor. The manor is said in several sources to have been bought by a daughter of Spencer Perceval, the only British prime minister to have been assassinated. Perceval was reputed to have been appointed Chancellor c1807.

The Eiffel tower is most likely a reference to another Ealing comedy film starring Alec Guinness, called 'The Lavender Hill Mob' (c 1951). The plot concerns Guinness and his gang stealing some gold bars, melting them down and shipping them out of the country, recast as Eiffel tower souvenirs.

Link to the competition

Where was I?


  1. Glad to see you back. Missed you.

  2. Welcome back. I and many others have missed you. Hope you are fit and well now.
    David, Salisbury

  3. Cheers folks, hope my analysis is not too rusty..... ;-)