MGM British Studios

MGM British Studios

If there was ever a ‘Rolls Royce’ of British film studios, it was MGM British, which stood on 115 acres off Elstree Way from 1936 until 1970, where it produced world-famous films, attracting many of Hollywood’s most legendary stars.

The studio was built in 1936 as Amalgamated Studios but never opened. The facility was purchased by Lord Rank and with the impending onset of war, it was leased to the Ministry of Works.

In 1944 MGM decided to invest in UK film production and purchased the studio plus additional acreage. After modernisation MGM launched its film production programme.

The next twenty-five plus years saw a steady stream of stars in MGM films and those of other production companies, creating such well-remembered films as Ivanhoe, Mogambo, The Man Who Never Was, Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Village of the Damned, The VIPs, The Dirty Dozen, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Where Eagles Dare and such TV series as Danger Man, The Prisoner and UFO.

In 1969, while a crew was on location in Singapore preparing to start work on Man’s Fate under Oscar-winning Hollywood director Fred Zinnemann, filming was suddenly cancelled. The MGM British studios closed in early 1970; MGM shared premises with EMI at what is now Elstree Studios until 1973 when it withdrew completely from the UK production scene.

2020 is the 50th anniversary of the sudden closure of MGM British Studios. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Elstree Screen Heritage had prepared plans to celebrate the many achievements of the studio, including a Summer-long exhibition at Elstree & Borehamwood Museum.

These plans are now ‘on hold’ but we have published Paul Welsh’s long-awaited book MGM British Studios: Hollywood in Hertfordshire.  Over 300 pages long and containing more than 400 photos and drawings, most never previously published, this book tells the stories of the talented staff who worked in front of or behind the cameras.  Many of these men and women belonged to ‘film families’ of Elstree & Borehamwood.

The book costs £20 (plus postage and packaging).

All proceeds from the sale of this book are being donated to Elstree Screen Heritage and Elstree & Borehamwood Museum to salute the voluntary work both organisations do to preserve our unique heritage.

You can purchase a copy via the PayPal link below, or, if you prefer, post a cheque (including postage and packaging – details below) to Elstree Screen Heritage c/o 85 Deacons Hill Road, Elstree, Herts., WD6 3HZ

Prices including postage


  • Posted 12th May 2020 Jean Cranfield Johnson 6:49 pm

    Please post to
    Jean Cranfield Johnson
    193B The Broadway
    Thorpe Bay
    Southend on sea
    Essex SS1 3EX

  • Posted 14th May 2020 Pascal LIGER 4:50 pm

    Can you send this book to Europe ? How much is the total cost for France ?

    • Posted 18th May 2020 ehadmin 3:38 pm

      We’ve received your order and will be sending your copy to Quai de la Republique

  • Posted 15th May 2020 Debbie Viney 6:25 am

    How do I order a copy to be delivered to Australia?

    • Posted 18th May 2020 ehadmin 3:35 pm

      A copy will soon be winging its way to Albion Rise, Covid-19 permitting!

    • Posted 28th May 2020 ROY F FORDHAM 4:26 am

      Can you send a copy to me (Roy Fordham) in Australia, as I worked with ATV Borehamwood before it was forced to move to Nottingham, as ‘Central’ T/V, I had many happy years at the Eldon Avenue Studios, the “Muppets” with Jim Henson at the ‘helm’ a pleasure never to be forgotten, before moving out to Australia.

      • Posted 28th May 2020 ehadmin 12:35 pm

        Roy, you have ‘previous’! What golden days! Please just place your order online through the publications section of our website and I’ll set aside a copy for you.

  • Posted 15th May 2020 mrs madeleine hipperson 11:21 pm

    received the book today. looks great , cant wait to settle down and read it

    • Posted 18th May 2020 ehadmin 3:32 pm

      Thanks so much, Maddy.

  • Posted 21st May 2020 sarah cronin-stanley 2:53 pm

    who can i discuss buying bulk wholesale?
    please let us know 🙂

  • Posted 3rd June 2020 John Drake 7:38 pm


    I’d like to order this book and have it sent to the USA – is that “Rest of World 1” or “Rest of World 2” ?

    • Posted 4th June 2020 ehadmin 8:18 am

      Hi John. You’re in ‘Rest of the World 1’ That’s a tad UK-centric but…. Bob

  • Posted 19th August 2020 Stephen Carson 12:42 am

    Ordered my copy yesterday. Looking forward to reading it.

  • Posted 19th August 2020 Stephen Carson 12:44 am

    Ordered my copy yesterday. Looking forward to reading it. Any chance it could be a signed copy? Thanks

    • Posted 25th August 2020 ehadmin 3:16 pm

      Thanks for placing an order for ‘MGM British Studios’ but it’s not reached us yet. Please, how did you place it?

  • Posted 18th September 2020 Karen Story 10:22 am

    Ordered my 2nd copy today for a 60th birthday for a Borehamwood resident. Would be very grateful if I could receive it by next Wednesday.

    • Posted 18th September 2020 ehadmin 11:10 am

      Hi Karen. Your copy is ready to post and will go out this afternoon. Please let me know when you receive it; the Royal Mail is pretty variable these days! Bob

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