My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985


Stephen Frears


visit the film locations

London: Flights: Heathrow Airport; Gatwick Airport

Wandsworth: the nearest tube to Wilcox Road is Vauxhall, Victoria Line


Three controversial British classics of the early Seventies had scenes filmed in Wandsworth. Just north of Wandsworth Town Station on Old York Road, Chas (James Fox) phones his one-time boss in Performance. Spencer Park is the home of the dreadfully earnest Hodson family in John Schlesinger’s Sunday, Bloody Sunday – the first mainstream film to take its characters’ homosexuality completely for granted. But, most famously, the northern subway beneath the huge circular advertising installation on Trinity Road is where the Alex and the ‘droogs’ attack the Irish tramp at the beginning of A Clockwork Orange.

More recently, director Stephen Frears himself returned to Wandsworth: Wandsworth Town Hall, High Street, provided the lavish lobby of the ‘Baltic Hotel’ in Dirty Pretty Things

My Beautiful Laundrette: Wilcox Road, Wandsworth, London SW8

My Beautiful Laundrette: ‘Powders’ launderette: Wilcox Road, Wandsworth, London SW8

Yes, yes, I know the correct spelling is launderette. Take it up with writer Hanif Kureishi.

And my red face? Well, in the original edition of my London location guide I somehow managed to leave out this Eighties classic completely. However, Movie London makes amends.

Young Asian entrepreneur Omar (Gordon Warnecke) employs old school pal, and one-time racist, Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis) to make sock-washing a feelgood experience in this little gem of a movie, which captures so much of the spirit of 80s Britain.

My Beautiful Laundrette: Queenstown Road, Battersea, London SW11

My Beautiful Laundrette: home to Omar and his dad: Queenstown Road, Battersea, London SW11

It's set around Wandsworth, south London, though the home of Omar and his world-weary dad (Roshan Seth) is 239 Queenstown Road at Ravenet Street in Battersea.

The railway bridge, under which Omar first sees Johnny with his racist pals, is over Stewarts Road, near Ascalon Street, Wandsworth, SW8.

In reality, ‘Powders' launderette itself used to be Low Gear second hand store, but has since gone through several incarnations. It’s 11 Wilcox Road, SW8, off Wandsworth Road, which was, at the time, two doors away from... a launderette.

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