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British Film Studios

Elstree Studios
the British Hollywood

First, let's clear up a couple of things........
Elstree is NOT a studio AND it's NOT in Elstree.
Still confused??? Let's take a closer look.... Elstree is actually Britains only film township and not one studio but 6 different studios. Let's start from the beginning......

In 1913, John East, Percy Nash and Arhur Moss Lawrence got together for the purpose of starting a new film studio. They wanted to build a modern studio outside of the fog of London, but close enough for the ease of actors, supplies and distribution. They also wanted enough land to make a wide variety of films. They located this beautiful piece of land just outside of London at Elstree. Well..... they THOUGHT it was Elstree. The railway was the dividing line between Elstree and Borehamwood and the sign said Elstree Station. They happened to buy land on the Borehamwood side.

Here's a map and breakdown of the studios and their histories:

 British National

1. Neptune Studios

a. Neptune Studios which ran from 1914-1917. It was liquidated in 1920, leased by Ideal Films 1924-1928.
b. Ludwig Blattner Film Corp. bought the studio in 1928 until the banks repossed in 1932.
c. American producer, Joe Rock leased Neptune in 1935 until the banks repossed in 1938.
d. Lady Yule bought the studio in 1941 and named it British National Studio, closed it in 1948.
e. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. leased the studio in 1952 and named it National Studios.
f. ATV bought the studio in 1962 for television production.
g. BBC Television bought the studio in 1984.

2. British National Studios

a. original studio built in 1925, John Maxwell took control in 1926 and renamed British International Pictures (BIP)
b. Maxwell reorganized and changed the name to Associated-British Pictures Corp. (ABPC) in 1933.
c. Take over of ABPC in 1969 by EMI and renamed EMI-Elstree.
d. Merger with MGM-British when they closed their studio across the street. The name was changed to EMI-MGM in 1970.
e. MGM pulled out in 1973, changing the name back to EMI-Elstree.
f. EMI merged with Columbia-Warner in 1978, but while this was in the process, Thorn Ind. bought the studios to become Thorn-EMI.
g. Cannon Organization purchased the studio in 1986 to name it Cannon Studios.
h. Brent Walker Entertainment Group purchased the studio in 1988 and named it Goldcrest Studios but shut down the studio in 1994.
i. Hertsmere Borough Council purchased the studio in 1996 and opened Elstree Film & Television Studios

3. Imperial Studios

a. Herbert Wilcox leased the buildings in that he helped build from John Maxwell and named it Imperial Studios, in 1927 which was the home of British & Dominions Film Corp. the studio burned to the ground in 1936.

4. Whitehall Studio

a. Adelqui Millar built Whitehall Studio in 1928 but closed it in 1929.
b. Consolidated Films leased the Studio in 1934 and changed the name to Consolidated Studios.
c. Julius Hagen bought the studio in 1935 and closed it in 1937.
d. J. Banberger took control of the studio and changed the name to MP Studios Ltd. in 1937 and produced several quota quickies.
e. Whitehall was requistioned during the war and used for war supplies.
d. Arthur Rank bought the studio for overflow production and changed the name to Gate Studios and used it to make religious films.
e. In 1952, it was purchased by Andrew Smith Harkness to become the home of Harkness Screens, the manufacturer of cinema screens until 2003. Aerofilms, Britain’s leading supplier of aerial photography, also had an office there.
f. The building was demolished in 2004 to make room for a housing project.

5. Amalgamated Studio

a. Paul Soskin started building Amalgamated in 1936. Contractors foreclosed in 1939.
b. J. Arthur Rank purchased while John Maxwell negotiated for takeover.
c. Ministry of Works requisitioned the studio for war storage
d. Rank sold studio to Prudential in 1947
e. Prudential sold studio to MGM and renamed MGM-British in 1948 which operated it until 1970 when they closed the studio and merged with EMI which was across the street.
f. Sold to a cold storage company who eventually tore down the studio to make room for housing development

6. Danziger Studio

a. Danziger Brothers converted a engine testing factory into 5 sound stage studio in 1956 that was located across the tracks and actually IN Elstree. The studio was sold in 1965 and used for warehouse storage.

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