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In 1899, Cecil Hepworth leased a house for 36£ a year and built an 8' by 15' outdoor stage in his garden. This merger beginnings would become a studio called Walton-on-Thames.

He founded Hepwix Production and initially, he only produced 'actuality' films that were only about 50' in length. His first films on his new stage was The Egg Laying Man where he utilized trick photography and The Eccentric Dancer, where slow motion photography was probably used for the first time in the UK.

He became famous with his coverage of the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901.

By 1905, Hepworth had expanded the studio into 2 large covered stages, a workshop, viewing theater, drying rooms with escape balconies, perferation rooms with 6 motor driven perforators to perferate the film, copying rooms for film duplication and a length of rail for a wheeled camera stand (today these are called 'track shots').

The actors for Hepworth (called the Hepworth Picture Players) became so popular that without realizing it, Cecil had developed Britain's first film stars. His stock company of players included such notables as Henry Edwards, Violet Hopson, Stewart Rome and Chrissie White and later to include Ronald Colman who became a star in the US.

By 1911, Cecil made the transition to feature films. He concentrated on the beauty of the countryside and became skeptical of some of the newer techniques of editing and close-ups (which eventually was his downfall). Instead he chose to do film 'fade outs' and more stage presentations.

As an alternative, Cecil did his own experiments, here you see that he was one of the earliest known to have used an airplane in the story. This film was released in 1913.

When WWI broke out, Cecil was one of the few film studios that continued to produce. He made some propaganda shorts to help sales of war bonds and public safety. He also rented out his studio to other production companies that were without facilities.

At the conclusion of the war, there was a surge of companies to get back into production AND to keep up with all the advancements that the United States production companies had made during the war.

To try to keep up, Cecil formed Hepworth Picture Plays Ltd in 1919 to raise money for a new expansion program. This was to be his downfall.

Hepworth purchased another property to build a six stage studio and used Walton-on-Thames as collateral. Unfortunately, the stock didn't sell well and his new films weren't the same quality as those being released from abroad. He tried his hand at more elaborate productions making several films that were financial flops.

In 1923 he spent £10,000 to make a second version of Comin' Thro' the Rye. Six months later he had to declare bankruptcy.

Creditors seized and liquidated Walton-on-Thames studio at a small fraction of its value. Producer Archibald Nettlefold bought the studio and renamed it Nettlefold Studio.

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