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Debenham House in Driving Lessons

Date posted: 01.08.2006

Driving Lessons is a coming of age story that is released nationwide by Tartan Films on 8 September. Debenham House, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, was dressed as two locations for this Rupert Grint 'vehicle'.

This rites of passage comedy introduces a shy and downtrodden Ben (Rupert Grint). With summer vacation looming before him, he is looking forward to learning to drive. However, his preoccupied parents have different ideas. Ben's world is turned upside down when he finds employment as a garden hand with an eccentric retired actress Evie (Julie Walters).

Evie enters Ben's life with a sense of frenetic energy he has never experienced before. She whisks him away from the life he has known for seventeen years on a series of adventures - one of which is taking the wheel on a trip to Edinburgh.

Evie's unconventional and often downright bizarre behaviour challenges Ben's beliefs. He starts to question his life and ultimately the direction in which he should take it. Will he continue to conform, or break out and live his life as his own man?

Driving Lessons is a heartfelt, touching and comedic look at the effect one unconventional older woman can have on a young man with a lot to learn.

There are a total of two sequences in the film which shot at Debenham House. The main area of the house was dressed as a café and it also doubles as a hotel room in Edinburgh where Julie Walters' character stays.

This unique Grade I listed Edwardian house, set in one acre of garden, was designed by Halsey Ricado as a family home for Sir Ernest Debenham.

The exterior is tiled in glazed bricks. The ground floor interior consists of three main rooms: the library - designed with mahogany bookcases inlaid with ivory and pearl motifs; the wood-panelled drawing room; and the dining room with beautiful ceilings designed by Ernest Gimson. An extensive mosaic, designed by Gaetano Meo, covers the copula roof of the hall.

Driving Lessons was part of this year's London UK Film Focus (LUFF) screening schedule. LUFF is a three day British Film export event which takes place annually in June.

Unfortunately Debenham House is no longer avaiilable for filming.

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