Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders is a visually stunning drama – taking us from Birmingham’s canals and terraced houses and factories, all the way to the Palace of Westminster, London clubs and Tommy Shelby’s country mansion.
Here’s what you need to know about the show’s filming locations…
Where is Peaky Blinders set?
The BBC drama is set in Birmingham.
Since series one, the Shelby family stronghold has been based around Small Heath, an area to the south-east of the city featuring factories, pubs and rows of Victorian terraced housing for the working classes.
The nearby canal connects Birmingham to London via the Grand Union Canal, and is used by the fictional Shelby family for business both legal and illicit – from smuggling guns and booze to transporting wealthy horse trainers (Charlotte Riley) in and out of the city.
We’ve also seen the Peaky Blinders branch out across the city and into the surrounding countryside as Tommy Shelby’s influence and business empire has grown.
In series five, some of the action is even set in London’s Westminster…
Where is Peaky Blinders filmed?
Birmingham’s Small Heath area has changed massively over the last century, and no longer looks anything like it did during the years when Peaky Blinders is set. The slums have been cleared and major roads have been built through the area.
“We would love to shoot the whole thing in Birmingham,” Producer Laurie Borg previously told the Birmingham Mail. “But unfortunately the period locations we need just don’t exist anymore.”
For that reason, Birmingham has been recreated on screen using purpose-built sets and a patchwork of locations including Manchester and Liverpool, Yorkshire and places across the West Midlands.
Where do the Peaky Blinders live – and where was the street filmed?
The street where the Shelby family have their HQ (and where they run their betting offices) is called Watery Lane, and it did actually exist in Small Heath. However, it was torn up in the post-war years and is no longer on the map.
Instead, the street’s exteriors have been shot in Liverpool on Powis Street, where producers found a street lined by cramped two-storey houses with blackened bricks. (Fun fact: it’s one street along from where Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was born). They have also filmed at nearby Kinmel Street and South Street.
However, renovations on Powis Street began in 2017 – so it remains to be seen whether the show has found a new home for the Shelbys for series five…
How was Birmingham’s Small Heath recreated?
Closer to Birmingham, another key location for Peaky Blinders is the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley – an open-air museum set across 26 acres, where visitors can explore “the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.” This includes a village where the buildings have been dismantled and relocated to the site – showcasing “typical” shops, houses and workshops from the early 20th century.
The museum provides some perfect locations for the show, including the Chain Making Shop, the Anchor Forge, the Boat Dock, St James’s School and the canals. In fact, it’s here that you’ll find the scrap metal yard belonging to Uncle Charlie Strong (Ned Dennehy), although CGI has been used to paint Birmingham’s huge factories and chimneys in the background.
Tommy also routinely walks past the Black Country Museum’s dramatic firing furnaces when he’s striding through his territory in Small Heath.
How are the Garrison and the show’s interiors filmed?
For the first series, 48 sets were built for Peaky Blinders at a studio in Leeds. By the second series, that number had risen to 120.
These include most of the interiors we see on screen, such as the Garrison pub and Tommy’s office.
(Additional fun fact: there is actually a pub called The Garrison in Small Heath, but it closed down and has been derelict for years. It is not used for filming.)
Where is Tommy’s mansion filmed?
As Tommy Shelby has risen in the world, his surroundings have become grander – especially since he bought his country mansion with his late wife Grace (Annabelle Wallis).
This is actually Arley Hall in Cheshire, a Grade II listed building. The library becomes Tommy’s office, and producers hang their large portrait of Tommy and his horse in the Great Hall.
The mansion has been home to the same family – the Ashbrooks – for more than 500 years, but these days it’s a popular wedding venue, tourist attraction and filming location.
As for Aunt Polly, her mansion (supposedly in Sutton Coldfield) is filmed using a mock-tudor building at a village in Port Sunlight, Wirral.
Will Peaky Blinders always be set in Birmingham?
While both Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle) and Michael Gray (Finn Cole) have spent time in the USA handling business (and making deals with the Mafia) for Shelby Company Limited, there are currently no plans to take the action abroad.
With Michael set to return to England in series five, his on-screen mother Helen McCrory (Aunt Pol) joked: “It’s remarkable how the pigeons always come home to roost when the set would have to be changed. And everyone ends up on the set we’ve already paid for!”
Peaky Blinders begins on Sunday 25th August 2019 at 9pm on BBC1