The Stately Home and the Go-Kart Track


pic 52
This bought me to the end of my tour of Double Decker Land, but there was more which I didn't have time to visit. In A Happy Haunting the gang visit a stately home which is actually Knebworth House situated to the north of Borehamwood (see pic 52). This impressive old mansion has been used as a film location many times and it is possible to visit the house just as the gang and Albert did as it has been open to the public since the 1950s (there are no ghosts however!). The surrounding gardens are just as impressive, although the area is probably more famous today for the pop festivals held in the grounds than for the house itself.


pic 53


pic 54


pic 55

The go kart track used extensively in the episode The Go Karters is actually the Rye Road Kart Raceway in Hoddesdon in East Hertfordshire, which is still thriving today (see pics 53 - 55). It was actually relatively easy to identify because of landmarks such as the railway line which skirts the site, the power station situated to the north, and most notably the electricity pylon wires which run across the track (these are all clearly visible in the background when Spring and Scooper are whizzing round the track). Only the pylons are shown in these pictures (which I obtained from the site owner), but a glance at a map revealed that the power station and railway are also still there. These pictures show that the site has been somewhat modernised since 1969, most notably the smart stadium/clubhouse which has replaced the single storey huts which were present when the episode was filmed. The layout of the track has seemingly remained the same however, and clearly the sport of go karting is as popular as ever!

Go karting was a very popular sport in 1969/70 and this race track (which is the nearest go kart track to Borehamwood) was regularly mentioned in local Borehamewood newspapers. Presumably the current craze at the time inspired the writers to include this karting story and the director and film crew were prepared to make the journey to Hoddesden to make it more authentic.

Although a lot of the above locations are just ordinary suburban back streets, finding these places, which I had seen on the television so many years ago was a bit like travelling back to visit a childhood home. Parts of it you remember, parts of you have forgotten. But all in all it was a wonderful experience, which filled me with a strange sense of deja vu, and a curious mixture of pleasure and sadness.

Thanks to Tony McKay who has visited some of these locations on many occasions and let me use his pics of Tykes Water Lake, Home Farm and the ABPC/Cannon film studios and cottage. Thanks also to Paul Deavin at Deavinsons who allowed me to use the pics of the Rye Road Kart Raceway.



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