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Sunday September 23rd 2018

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie | 1969

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie’s home: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh

Edinburgh provides most of the locations as Maggie Smith takes over from Vanessa Redgrave (who originally played Brodie on stage to great acclaim) in the film of Muriel Spark’s Thirties-set novel, and Rod McKuen growls possibly the least appropriate title song ever.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: The Vennel, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie leads her charges through the streets of Edinburgh: The Vennel, Edinburgh

As the undoubtedly charismatic but woefully misguided teacher Miss Brodie leads her charges through the city, there’s a backdrop of real Edinburgh locations (minus TV aerials, which had to be physically removed in those distant pre-digital times), including the Vennel, the flight of steps leading down to Grassmarket, with its view across to Edinburgh Castle.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie and the girls stroll through the churchyard: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh

From here, they stroll through Greyfriars Kirkyard – yes, where Bobby the terrier supposedly spent 14 years guarding his master’s grave, and last resting place of 'the Great' William McGonagall, legendary 'worst poet in the English language'.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Teddy Lloyd's studio from the churchyard: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh

The graveyard also has a fine view to the studio of Jean's rakish sometime-lover, artist Teddy Lloyd (Robert Stephens) who, on glimpsing her, suddenly decides to take a walk himself.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Teddy Lloyd rushes out to meet Jean: Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh

It's mightily convenient for him to sprint out of the house, across Candlemaker Row and up the churchyard steps where he can bump 'unexpectedly' into Jean.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie’s home: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh

Teddy Lloyd's home is the grand Mary Tudor house at 1 Candlemaker Row, on the corner of Merchant Street.

A little diversion here for Potterheads and JK Rowling fans: opposite this house is 'Rowling's window', the rear of the cafe where the Harry Potter books were written, which looks out onto the churchyard.

In fact, in Greyfriars Churchyard you can find, with a bit of difficulty, the memorial headstone to 'Thomas Riddell' whose name, at least, went on to give him posthumous fame – if not notoriety.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie’s home: Admiral Terrace, Edinburgh

Miss Brodie lives in the Victorian house at 5 Admiral Terrace, opposite Lothian Regional Council Office (carefully avoided by the camera), to the southwest of the city centre.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Edinburgh Academy, Henderson Row, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: the entrance to ‘Marcia Blaine School’: Edinburgh Academy, Henderson Row, Edinburgh

Although interiors were built in the studio, the entrance to ‘Marcia Blaine School’ was, then, the Donaldson School for Deaf and Dumb Children, which is now part of Edinburgh Academy, 54 Henderson Row to the north of the city.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Barnbougle Castle, Edinburgh
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: Miss Brodie gets away to ‘Cramond’ at the weekends: Barnbougle Castle, Edinburgh | Photograph: wikimedia / Jonathan Oldenbuck

‘Cramond’, the estate to which Miss Brodie retreats at weekends, is Barnbougle Castle on the Firth of Forth, just a few miles west of Edinburgh. Part of the Dalmeny Estate, it’s home to the Earl and Countess of Roseberry.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie film location: Grim's Dyke Hotel, Old Redding, Harrow Weald
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie location: the interior of the library at 'Marcia Blaine': Grim's Dyke Hotel, Old Redding, Harrow Weald

One location outside Scotland is the library of ‘Marcia Blaine’, which was filmed in Grim’s Dyke House – now the Grim’s Dyke Hotel at Old Redding, Harrow Weald. The former home of lyricist WS Gilbert (half of Gilbert & Sullivan), who unfortunately drowned in the lake here, this 1870 Norman Shaw-designed house used to be a screen regular, starring in films such as The Curse of the Crimson Altar, The Blood Beast Terror and the chilling 1965 faux-documentary It Happened Here, which visualises the occupation of the UK if Germany had won WWII.