Shrewsbury and A Christmas Carol

Shrewsbury was chosen as the venue to film one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told. "A Christmas Carol", this was to have George. C. Scott in the lead role as Scrooge with David Warner, Suzzanna York, Michael Carter and Edward Woodward as other main characters along with Tony Walters, a local 6 year old, playing Tiny Tim and hundreds of local people taking "Walk on" parts along with a young fresh faced lad, me!!

I was given the job as Stand in for Edward who had to wear stilts made by NASA so that he could play the Ghost of Christmas Present.

The opening scenes were filmed in the Square and they had to be re-filmed on day two as someone had left a plastic cup of coffee against the wall of the Old Market Hall and someone spotted it on a couple of frames of film!!  Fish St. was the site of filming Bob Cratchitts house and they used the little shop to the right of the Bear Steps. When we filmed the scene for Scrooge to visit his Nephew on The Crescent, Town Walls, the crew had laid down the salt to make it look like snow and a chap who was a bit worse for drink somehow wandered onto the set and had us all in fits of laughter as he jumped from the snow side to the clear side looking up into the sky as if he could see the snow clouds above him!!

The outside of the Parade Shopping Centre was the scene for the lads sliding on the ice and for Scrooge to be approached by the two gents collecting money foor the poor. The ice slide was produced by putting together a load of plywood boards, and pouring gallons of washing up liquid onto it and away the lads went sliding for all they were worth!

The filming for the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Future was done under the railway station arches, on the Monkmoor side of the river, and they had to put a chap with a radio in the signal box to warn when the next train was approaching. Dry ice was floated out over water and a little track was laid so that I could stand on a box and two chaps slowly pulled a rope so it looked like I was floating above the ground towards Scrooge, spooky or what?

One set that you can still see is the grave of Ebenezer Scrooge, enter the chuchyard of St Chads, opposite the Quarry, and walk about halfway along the path, look down on your left and there he still lies!!
Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol" as a means of getting out of a debtors prison in London and its first public reading was done here in Shrewsbury. Dickens visited the town on a few occasions and it`s not quiet certain whether the reading took place at the Music Hall or at The Lion Hotel either way "The Carol" came home.

If you have any suggestions of streets that you would like to know the history of then please contact me via the magazine and I will do my best to include them in future articles.
Have a good Christmas and see you next year!!

Section:

Martin Wood Martin Wood
The Shrewsbury Town Crier.

Read More from Martin Wood