When the early film pioneers arrived in a small rural village called Boreham Wood, in the parish of Elstree, one hundred years ago, who could have foretold the future?
They began a unique legacy of motion picture production and wrapped our town in that ‘ribbon of dreams’ as Orson Welles once described movies. Later, television production from the 1950s added to the huge output of the studios of Borehamwood.
The six studios that have existed here over the subsequent decades have created stars, seen the final bows of some cinema greats and created screen magic. Cult TV series such as The Avengers and The Prisoner along with history making movies like Hitchcock’s Blackmail and blockbusters like Star Wars have made our town world famous.
We have a historical legacy of which to be proud and an exciting future ahead of us so let us celebrate this special Centenary.
Paul Welsh MBE MA
Chairman, Elstree Screen Heritage
In 2014 we celebrated 100 years of film-making in the local studios with a three-month long exhibition at the Community Museum. As part of our work with the University of Hertfordshire on The Elstree Project we screened our new feature-length documentary film, “From Borehamwood To Hollywood”.
In conjunction with other members of the First Impressions initiative we also added two new heritage panels to the Film & TV Heritage Trail, placed new signage at key gateways into the Town and installed Centenary Banners the length of Shenley Road, from the train station to the gates of Elstree Studios and beyond.
To learn more about our various Centenary activities just follow the links.
Our Centenary Exhibition
For three months in 2014 we ran a special exhibition in the Community Museum, dedicated entirely to the Town’s film legacy.
Guests entering the foyer at 96 Shenley Road soon realised that something very special was waiting for them……….
and were soon on their way in the lift to Floor 2….
A time-line guided visitors, followed by two interactive video screens, various displays, even a double-decker bus! And yes, that IS the axe from The Shining! And that IS an Oscar!
What people said about the importance of the Centenary.
“Hertsmere Borough Council is proud of its long association with local film and television activity, not only as owner of Elstree Studios since 1996 but on behalf of the residents of Hertsmere and far beyond who owe so much to the creative efforts of all the studios over the past hundred years.”
Cllr. Morris Bright, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council
“Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council is very pleased to be able to support Elstree Screen Heritage and play our part in celebrating this wonderful centenary of 100 years of film-making in the area. On behalf of Elstree & Borehamwood Council and all our residents I take this opportunity to thank the Elstree Screen Heritage team for all the hard work they put in.“
Cllr. Clive Butchins, Mayor of Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council
“When those early film pioneers arrived in a small rural village called Boreham Wood, in the parish of Elstree, one hundred years ago , they began a unique legacy of motion picture production and wrapped our town in that ‘ribbon of dreams’ as Orson Welles once described movies. Later, television production added to the huge output from the studios of Borehamwood. Over the decades the six studios have created stars, seen the final bows of some cinema greats and made screen magic. Cult TV series such as The Avengers and The Prisoner along with history-making movies as Hitchcock’s Blackmail and blockbusters like Star Wars have made our town world famous. We have a historical legacy of which to be proud and an exciting future ahead of us, so let us all celebrate this special centenary.
Paul Welsh MBE MA, Chairman of Elstree Screen Heritage
“There has been a station on the site of the current Elstree & Borehamwood station since July 1868, a good ten years before the first motion picture ever made, so it’s very likely that many of the first actors, directors and technicians who launched the embryonic film industry in Elstree & Borehamwood back in 1914 arrived there by train. 100 years later Elstree & Borehamwood station remains a vital gateway to the studios and the rest of the community. First Capital Connect has been an active supporter of Elstree & Borehamwood’s film-making and television production heritage for several years; we even have a train named ‘Elstree Studios’. We are proud to continue our support in this centenary year.”
Keith Jipps, Customer Service Director of First Capital Connect
“The centenary of film making in Elstree and Borehamwood is important not just to recognise achievements which can be tracked right to the beginnings of cinematography but also to highlight that the industry has and continues to be crucial to the local, regional and UK economy. The celebrations and events marking the 100th anniversary show how strong remain the commitment to supporting film and television-making. The programme of events and attractions for this year is really exciting and I urge local businesses and the community to get involved.”
Ian Welland, Chief Executive for Hertsmere Connect and Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce