Come Spring 2011, I hope to create a scene by scene video
documenting nearly all the locations featured in KES. Many
places have changed over the years, but with the help of film
clips, fans will be able to follow how it all was edited together.
Until then here’s an aperitif, using polaroid photos as illustrations. Kes was
made on location in and around Barnsley and Hoyland, with the exception
of the Bookshop which was shot in a slum area of Leeds. All interior scenes
were pretty much untouched apart from set dressing.
THE CASPER HOUSEHOLD –
Parkside Rd, Hoyland, off the A6135 Sheffield Rd.
The real home of “salt of the earth” Connie and Duggie Howarth; Connie had a
wonderfully infectious, guttural laugh – even the “biblical Job” would’ve lapsed into
titters! Part of the deal in return for using their home was having the entire house
refurbished. The Kes’ habitat and tool shed were built for the film; now long gone.
Princess Street, Barnsley town centre.
PAPER ROUND –
Various locales in and around Lundwood.
Leaving his home, Billy runs through an estate where he is attacked by a dog and
runs up a side street into a field (all where Priory Road meets Priory Place), and then
down a hill past a row of garages (filmed from the hilltop at Harrington Court).
Collecting his paper bag from the Newsagents (corner house at junction of Princess
St / Beaconsfield St in Barnsley), he returns to the estate where he meets the
Milkman at the bottom of Lewis Road.
Billy read the Dandy comic on a hillside (Grange View in Blacker Hill), overlooking a vast
Coking Plant – open fields today. Returning to the Newsagents he dashes into Bridge
St off Old Mill Lane (the pyjama kids’ terraces are now bungalows) and through one
of the arches – picking up an empty fag packet.
THE SCHOOL –
formerly St. Helen’s Secondary Modern, Carlton Rd, Barnsley.
Although my old school has undergone improvements over the years, its exterior
shape is still recognisable – where Jud approaches menacingly during the Maths
lesson; upper floor looking down in front of the school. The playground is relatively
the same, most of the classrooms too. Billy took a nap in the Boiler Room situated on
the left of the school distinguished by its brick chimney. Edward Sherian (as it is now
known) is scheduled for demolition in late January 2011, then relocated and renamed
Carlton Community College.
The football scene took place at the back of the school – and is still in use. The local
fire brigade flooded the field with several thousand gallons of water; we filmed it on a
grey bleak day to resemble winter. The Registrar roll call and the English Lesson took
place in the same classroom on the left, as Manchester Utd. and Tottenham run onto
The caning sequence in the Head’s office took place at the front where Visitors’
parking is located. The Assembly Hall (ballet lesson) hasn’t changed much, from when
I first trod the boards in Christmas Pantos.
BELL WOODS –
off A6135 Sheffield Rd, Hoyland.
OLD FARM –
The woods were so named due to Bell-shaped open cast coal mining, as in when Billy
runs down into a concave basin. The stagnant pond was probably created this way.
You can walk through the woods from the A6135 then keeping to the main path
you will eventually exit where the Old Farm is situated, and what is left of Rockley Old
Hall; the manor house ruins where Billy climbs to the kestrel’s nest.
The old manor house must have been very grand when first erected (16/17th
century?). My ascent to the nest was about forty feet, sheer stone with few hand
holds - and only straw to break my fall if I slipped. Thankfully, my P. E. master
hammered in one or two mountaineer’s spikes where the wall was totally inaccessible.
In the main, my feet and hands relied on cracks between stone and crumbling
For the location where Billy flies KES with Mr Farthing in attendance, take the A61
out of Barnsley, through Worsbrough and Birdwell. At the roundabout go left on the
A6135 to Hoyland then up the B6096 Hoyland Rd / Hawshaw Rd to St. Peter’s
Church, where opposite is a cemetary and footpath. Walk down it, and you’ll find the
location - now a sports field.
Old Civic Hall, Eldon St. Barnsley.
Leeds city centre suburb.
The Civic Hall in town used to be the home of the Library (ground floor), and the
theatre (Old Time Music Hall, Christmas Pantos, professional touring shows, Stand Up
comedy and Am/Dram productions). Closed in the late 1990’s, it re-opened as a
cultural centre around 2005, and with a much reduced capacity caters for all the
performing arts, plus galleries. The old library is now the offices of the town council.
Sadly, the Bookshop outside Leeds city centre went to that “great repository in the
sky” decades ago.
PUB NIGHT OUT –
formerly The Cudworth Hotel, now Dards – Pontefract Rd, Cudworth.
The most direct route from Barnsley is follow the A628 Pontefract Rd, through
Lundwood into Cudworth, and continue until you reach Sunningdale Drive on your
right; the Pub is at the corner. The Cudworth Hotel / Dards was very popular in the
60’s, and changed its décor in line with musical tastes. Nowadays it is more open
planned, and middle of the road. It was also the venue where we had our Rap party
when filming ended, and where the Camera car driver wedged me inside a plastic
dustbin before presenting me with a wristwatch from all the crew – still have it to this
day though it no longer functions.
THE CHIP SHOP –
Princess St, Hoyland.
Parkside Rd, Hoyland.
The Harbour Fish & Chip Shop is still operating although changed somewhat in the
past forty years. The windows were larger then (you can see where they used to
be), and I don’t recall the pebbledash front; also the frying range and counter were
positioned differently. But this is the place… bloody good fish ‘n’ chips too!
Originally we shot the Butchers’ scene at a Dewhursts’ shop in Upper New St,
Barnsley, which I’m fairly certain is now the Tattoo Studio. Later it was decided to
turn the scene into a mobile butcher’s van owned by Medlams, and filmed in
Fitzwilliam Street just a short distance away from the Casper home. In the late 60’s
mobile vans were really popular, from greengrocers vans to peas and pie, Rington’s
Tea, and my favourite ice cream Danny Oates (it tasted like real Cornish ice cream,
apparently made from slightly soured milk!).
THE COLLIERY –
Skiers Spring Colliery, Broad Carr Rd, Hoyland.
At Birdwell mini roundabout (A61 from Barnsley), take the A6135 through Hoyland
until you reach Broad Carr Rd; and on the left after about a mile, inside the woods
was Skiers Spring Colliery – now a wasteland, victim of Margaret Thatcher’s policy that
provoked the General Strike of 1984/5. Head of NCB, the butcher, Ian Macgregor
who had previously decimated the steel industry, wielded his axe again destroying
most mining communities.
TAKING KES INTO TOWN –
I met the pensioner in a trilby at the bottom of Market Hill, Barnsley by the doors of
the Yorkshire Bank.
RUNNING THROUGH TOWN –
On my way home was filmed directly in front of The Alhambra Shopping Centre. Back
in the late 60’s, Sheffield Rd went right through town, and at the intersection with
New St is where Billy chances his luck with rush hour traffic.
BETTING SHOP –
Pontefract Rd, Lundwood village.
Go past a parade of shops on the left, and you’ll find it unchanged but for the name;
now a Totes Sport Betting Shop. I remember running down the snicket, and
confronting the owner who told me the news that Jud’s horses had won – Billy’s
worst fears realised! Incidentally, who recognised Julie Goodyear / Bet Lynch (from
Corrie St) behind the booth, without reading the end credits? Give yourself ten
Hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down “Memory Lane.”
Grateful thanks goes to Roland Keates of filminglocationsdetectives.com.co.uk for his
permission to use several photos from the web site; also Kes aficionado, Steve
McNicholas for the school picture.