In this first article in a new series looking at
the world of James Bond, we visit England and Scotland...
The World Of James Bond - England & Scotland
10th June 2004
Although the films have gone too far in hopping from one exotic
location to another with tenuous logic at the most, the books
and early films used locations much more sparingly. In this first
article in a new series looking at the world of James Bond, we
visit England and Scotland.
One of the great strengths of any James Bond story is Ian Flemingís
ability to vividly paint a mental picture of a scene. Luckily
for us Bond is usually sent to more interesting places overseas,
with descriptions that allow us to picture ourselves right in
the middle of the action. Bondís assignment only remains in England
in two stories; the first is Moonraker, the second is the
short story The Property of a Lady, although he can also
be found staying at the Ritz when working undercover as a diamond
smuggler in Diamonds Are Forever, and again after returning
to England under the influence of a KGB brainwashing. In fact,
under the remit of his department, he is not supposed to operate
in the UK at all. However, we do see a few glimpses of his day-to-day
life in and around London when between assignments, and spend
time with Bond at a health clinic in Thunderball, when
he is sent by M to "Shrublands" for two weeks detox.
While not on assignment, and not under some medical treatment,
we can find Bond in London while off duty. At the beginning of
Moonraker, Bond is invited by M to "Blades",
his private club. Bond is in his element when asked by his chief,
in a personal capacity, to help sort out a problem with one of
the other members. Hugo Drax is a public hero with the British
public due to his private financing of the "Moonraker"
rocket project. However, he is winning too much and too often
at bridge, and is suspected as a cheat. Bond spends some time
watching Draxís game, quickly spotting how he is winning. In order
to avoid miring the name of the club in the ensuing scandal that
would surely result, Bond teaches a lesson to the cheating multimillionaire
by serving him with a dose of his own medicine.
|The next morning it transpires that - quite
coincidentally - there was an overnight incident at the Moonraker
site and Bond is sent to investigate. The site is located
three miles north of Dover in Kent, an area known well by
Fleming as the location of his weekend retreat. During the
course of the investigation Bond returns to London and after
eating at his (unidentified) favourite restaurant, follows
Drax from Blades. From Park Street (in reality Park
Place), Bond follows Draxís Mercedes in his Bentley, along
St Jamesís Street, The Mall, Buckingham Palace Gate (should
Gate) and Lower Grosvenor Place to Draxís London residence
Street. In fact Fleming had lived at 22B Ebury Street
for a few years from 1934 after buying out a five-year lease
on the small flat from the leader of the British Union of
Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley. The chase then continues across
Chelsea Bridge to south of the river and Clapham Common, the
South Circular and finally the A20 to Dover, the road on which
Bond loses his beloved Bentley.
Above: Ebury Street in London, as it
Above: Eaton College, from where James
Bond was expelled.
||We learn from his (premature as it turns out)
obituary in You Only Live Twice that after losing his
parents in a climbing accident, James Bond had gone to live
with a maiden aunt, Miss Charmian Bond, in a village called
Pett Bottom in Kent. The obituary places his home next to
the Duck Inn, which in fact was a pub favoured by Ian Fleming
in his latter years, where he would enjoy English staples
such as steak and kidney pie for lunch. There is a plaque
attached to his favourite seat in the pubís garden. Bond had
been entered to Eton
by his father at birth and went there under his Auntís guardianship
until being expelled, at which point he attended his fatherís
old school, Fettes
College. A mile from the centre of Edinburgh, the school
was also attended by Tony Blair, and was perhaps where Bond
first learnt the rules of golf. During his time as a milkman,
Fettes was on Sean Conneryís delivery round.
Another off duty moment is to be found when James Bond
first appears in From Russia, With Love. Bond wakes
up completely bored with life. He hasnít been on a mission
for nearly a year and yearns for action. This is the first
real glimpse of his home life in his small but comfortable
flat in a converted Regency house, located in a small square
off the Kingís Road in Chelsea. The Kingís Road was named
for Charles II and although the remains of the English upper
classes rub shoulders with investment bankers and film stars,
it has for many years had a reputation for being Londonís
bohemian quarter. This reputation originated in Victorian
times when it was home to many artists and where the pre-Raphaelite
movement was centred. The Kingís Road was also heart of
the Swinging Sixties and both the Beatles and the Rolling
Stones lived there for a time.
Above: Fettes College in Edinburgh,
Bond's father's old school.
After ringing a bell to alert his housekeeper, May, that he is
ready for breakfast, Bond proceeds with some exercises, before
showering and dressing. Breakfast is Bondís favourite meal of
the day and when in London it always consists of two large cups
of very strong coffee, black and unsweetened, brewed in an American
Chemex, an egg boiled for three and a third minutes and served
in a dark blue egg cup with a gold ring around the top and two
thick slices of whole-wheat toast with butter and a choice of
strawberry jam, marmalade and honey.
While at headquarters, Bond sometimes goes to "Scottís"
with best friend in the service, Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner,
or with his secretary, Mary Goodnight. Located in Coventry Street
when the books were written, he would order dressed crab and Black
Velvet or roast grouse and pink Champagne and it is likely that
this is the unidentified favourite restaurant in Moonraker.
Scottís moved to Mount Street in Mayfair in the 1970s and celebrated
its 150th anniversary in 2001.
In Goldfinger Bond returns to Kent, staying at the "Channel
Packet" in Ramsgate and visiting the Royal St Markís golf
course at Sandwich. Although he spends much of his weekends on
the golf courses around London, Bondís assignment has taken him
to the course in order to make contact with Auric Goldfinger.
In fact, although he had played two rounds every day during the
week while still in his teens, James Bond had not visited Royal
St Markís for "fifteen, twenty years". Royal St Markís
was in fact heavily based on Flemingís favourite course, the Royal
St Georgeís, and he even changed the name of the club professional
of the time from Alfred Whiting to Alfred Blacking and the name
of one of the bunkers from "the Maiden" to "the
Above: Enton Hall in Surrey, the real
||An incident inspired by Flemings life
was Bonds visit to "Shrublands" in Thunderball.
After his daily intake of sixty cigarettes and a bottle of
gin were having the inevitable effect on his health, Fleming
had visited "Enton Hall", a large Victorian health
hydro in Surrey. In Thunderball, Bond is called to
Ms office after his chief has returned from a stay at
Shrublands with a new lease of life. Examining Bonds
medical record, he suggests that Bond would benefit from two
weeks at the clinic and when Bond initially demurs, M makes
clear that it is an order. In fact Bond returns from his fortnight
at Shrublands a new man, and it takes an assassination attempt
to restore him to his old habits. Flemings visit to
Enton Hall was not as successful and following his release
was directly put on a new course of drugs for his heart problem.
"The World Of James Bond" will visit Jamaica next...
Article by David Leigh.