Past Posters
British Film Posters
Posters Database

Advanced Search

Remember Me:
Cinema Retro

British Films Studios

Islington Studio

In 1913, the US company Famous Players-Lasky opened an office at 10-11 Austin Friars EC for the purpose of distributing their films and the films by Bosworth Studios. In 1914, they moved their offices to 84 Charing Cross Road in Westminster.

Distribution ceased during the war but in 1919, they decided to go into production and formed Famous Players-Lasky British Producers Ltd and established at studio in Islington called the Islington Studio.

In 1924, their lease of the facilities came to an end and they decided to close the operation. Gainsborough Pictures purchases the studio and took over production at Islington with Michael Balcon at the head. Balcon developed a very talented group which led Gainsborough into the limelight of major production companies. One of the bright spots was a young assistant director under Graham Cutts, named Alfred Hitchcock.

In 1928, Gaumont-British absorbed Gainsborough Pictures and the studio and formed a conglomerate which also included nearly 300 cinemas. Balcon remained head of production for the Gainsborough studio in Islington. Gaumont was set to handle the higher budget films and Gainsborough to handle the lower budget films.

In 1936, Balcon who was increasingly having trouble with management, left Gainsborough for a 2 year contract with MGM for a larger salary. Ted Black took over production.

In 1937, with the British market shrinking, Isadore Ostrer announced that Gaumont Studio at Lime Grove would have to close down. C. M. Woolf and J. Arthur Rank came in with a package to take over the production of Lime Grove and move it to Pinewood and let Gainsborough continue its production at Islington with ownership moving to Rank.

Ironically, Pinewood closed down the following year and Islington received a new burst of life from a contract with 20th Century Fox. Unfortunately, 1939 brought World War II and a lot of changes.

Another odd twist came when the chimneys at Islington became unstable and Lime Grove studio had to be reopened and the Gainsborough production moved to Lime Grove during the war to take care of the production.

In 1941, Rank took control of Gaumont and shortly afterward Isadore Ostrer died the same year. The following year C. M. Woolf also died.

With Maurice Ostrer and Ted Black at the controls of the production and 20th Century contracts expiring in 1942, Black brought in R. J. Minney who was a Hollywood scriptwriter and gambled that what Britain needed was some escapism films to get the publics mind off of the war. These became the most successful films in Gainsborough history, fueling a feud between Ostrer and Black. Black left to join Korda at MGM.

At the end of the war, Rank, unhappy with Ostrer handling of production replaced him with Sidney Box who in turn placed his sister Betty Box as head producer at Islington. Several well accepted films were made but by 1949 the heavy overhead of the outdated facilities were too much. Rank decided to cut his loses and closed Gainsborough Pictures and Islington Studio in 1950.

Back to British Studios

Home |Index | Meet Our Dealers |History | Artists | Studios |Map & Info
LAMP-Main | Distributors| Printers | Bookstore |Contact Us |

This section is for poster reference. Images found on this site are property of L.A.M.P. and are for reference purposes only with NO rights implied or given. See LAMP Disclaimer
A little BIGGER and a little BETTER each day - building a new direction... FOR ALL OF US