In the psychological thriller miniseries ‘The Girl Before,’ both female protagonists, Jane Cavendish (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Emma Matthews (Jessica Plummer), fall in love with the beautiful and minimalist house at 1 Folgate Street. They learn that the rent is quite cheap, but they have to agree to follow about 200 rules set by the architect and owner of the place, Edward (David Oyelowo).
Even though they acknowledge some of the rules are absurd and unsettling, they still consent to abide by all of them and move in three years apart from each other. A significant portion of the show takes place inside the house, which transforms into a character unto itself. Even J.P. Delaney, who created the series from his 2016 namesake book, said so in a 2017 interview. If you are wondering whether 1 Folgate Street is a real house, we got you covered.
Is 1 Folgate Street a Real House?
No, 1 Folgate Street isn’t a real house. The book’s setting is Cricklewood, an area in London, England. But for the show, they relocated the setting to Hampstead, a residential community that many academics, media personalities, and artists call home, also in London. However, a major portion of the miniseries was actually filmed in Bristol, a city in the southwest of England, with a few scenes shot on location in London.
During a Q&A session with the media in December 2021, Delaney explained how he and his team filmed the series. “Even when you see the aerial shots, we sort of know whether they’re coming from the house into central London, so you might be going over Primrose Hill [public park in London],” he stated. According to Delaney, they had figured out where exactly the house would be in the new setting, even if it were fictional.
For the scenes depicting the exterior of the 1 Folgate Street house, a set was built in Redland, Bristol. As for the interior scenes, they were shot at The Bottle Yard Studios in south Bristol. Their purpose-built set was also used for filming ITV’s ‘The Long Call’ and BBC’s ‘Chloe’ and ‘Showtrial.’ Delaney told BBC that he expected the house they built not to turn out the way he had envisioned in the book. “It was wonderful seeing it not become the house in my head,” he said.
“I’m quite a visual writer, and having written for the screen a lot, I had a mood board on the wall of my office while I was writing The Girl Before. I had about 40 images and I remember when I went into the BBC for the first meeting, I took with me all these printouts and started throwing them on the floor of the commissioner’s office. But I knew, even then, it probably wouldn’t look how I imagined because I’ve worked with directors and production designers a lot and realized you don’t hire someone brilliant and tell them to do it your way. You hire them and let them get on with it!”
Where Is the House Located?
As mentioned above, the house is supposed to be located in Cricklewood in the book but is moved to Hampstead for the show. 1 Folgate Street does exist in real life and is located by Spitalfields Market in the district of Shoreditch. Situated in the East End of London. During the Elizabethan period, Shoreditch gained prominence because it was the epicenter of contemporary theater. Even today, it serves as an important entertainment hub in the country.