The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner | 1962
With the British New Wave on a roll, another unknown, Tom Courtenay, was launched to stardom as Colin Smith, the reformatory boy with stamina. This dour character study, written by Alan Sillitoe, was filmed on location around the southeast of England.
‘Ruxton Towers’, the young offenders’ institution, is Ruxley Towers, which for many years could be seen disused and crumbling away at the end of Ruxley Ridge, off Common Road, Claygate, just southeast of Esher in Surrey.
Built in the late 1800s by Lord Foley, the building had been used by the army as a NAAFI facility before falling into disuse. In 1996 it was bought by Jennifer Lacoste (yes, of the polo-shirts-with-crocodiles empire) and substantially renovated to become very luxurious homes.
It’s been divided into four self-contained flats plus that striking six-story tower which contains octagonal rooms, vaulted ceilings and – for those with a head for heights – is topped by a roof terrace. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood was a recent resident.