Her Majesty's College of Arms and Heralds in Queen Victoria Street, City of London, is the oldest existing college in the World that deals with the register of armorial and family records. The officers of the College still carry out family history research and assign the rights for coats of arms, either existing or new.
The College of Arms was granted permission to use Derby Place, on its present location, back in 1555. After the Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed the original building, a new College was erected. In 1867 the Southern facade was demolished to make way for the new Queen Victoria Street, and the roofline and windows were altered, but the fabric of the building is largely original. Having been damaged during the Blitz, extensive repairs were carried out and new gates fitted after a gift from a citizen of the US. (The original gates were donated to the war effort) More extensive repairs were carried out in the early eighties, and the roof was renewed in 1998.
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In 1969, a decision was made to film a sequence of the James Bond film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' at the College. Ian Fleming had used the college in his novel, in which Bond finds that the villain, Blofeld, is attempting to attain the right to be a Count. After the events which are in the film and book, a longer sequence was to have been included. Bond discovers that an employee of the College, Phidian, has been eavesdropping on his conversation about Blofeld with Hillary Bray. Bond gives chase, across the rooftops and down to the street, following Phidian into the Post Office building at King Edward Street. The chase ends with the death of Phidian on the Post Office Underground Railway. This was to have been covered up by MI6 staging an extremely elaborate train crash north of London. Although some stills of this chase exist, no known film footage is thought to be available. The director, Peter Hunt, has stated that this sequence was dropped before filming actually took place. However, if you look closely at the small headline on the Daily Express newspaper Campbell is reading as Bond arrives in Switzerland, it reads '19 people killed in rush-hour train crash'.
Back to the film, as Bond climbs the steps and walks into the entrance, two Rolls Royce cars belonging to the producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli can be seen. Bond enters the college and walks across an extremely detailed set of the interior, designed by Syd Cain and built at Pinewood. Today, you can visit the original hall and marvel at the attention to detail the set builders produced, all for about 10 seconds of on screen time! A small range of books and souvenirs of the College can be purchased here, which is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 10am till 4pm.
Visit their website at www.college-of-arms.gov.uk for more information
The Video/DVD/book of OHMSS can be purchases by clicking here
|The College of Arms as it appeared in the
1969 Bond film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
(Note the producers Rolls Royce cars in the forecourt. Bonds Aston Martin DBS is to the left of the entrance steps)
|The elaborate interior set from OHMSS looks identical to the real location except for the doorway on the right|
|More James Bond movie location photos on our new website|