London’s Lost Film Studios

London, The Arts

News that Twickenham Studios is to close reminds me of other now-vanished studios. At the time of its construction, close to the start of the 20th century, Twickenham was the largest studio in the UK. It made films like ‘Call of the Sea’, and steadily produced forgotten films like ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Rembrandt’, made in 1932.

The 1960’s saw the studio involved in many of the world’s most popular British movies. Titles such as ‘Alfie’, ‘The Italian Job’, and Roman Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’ came to Twickenham as well as ‘Help’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, the two Beatles films directed by Richard Lester. As in everything else, the big names survive and the smaller, more personal places collapse.

Pinewood and Elstree were the big studios, but many others like Denham and Ealing were scattered around London. One, the Spitfire Studios, is a couple of streets over from me and is now offices, but still has the original frontage.

Another, Gainsborough Studios in East London, situated on the Grand Union Canal, has been turned into flats. It was used by Alfred Hitchcock and has a Buddha-like statue of him inside it.

There’s a further statue of Alfred Hitchcock on the beach of Dinard, a seaside town in Brittany. Hitchcock spent time there and supposedly based the house in Psycho on a villa overlooking the beach. There’s something sniffy and very French about the Brittany statue!

6 comments on “London’s Lost Film Studios”

  1. Gretta says:

    I love that they’ve kept the signs at the old Spitfire Studios. And the second of Hitch statues gets bonus points for having a real bird on it.

    I got some old Bogarde movies recently, and I’m pretty sure one of them was a Gainsborough. ‘So Long At The Fair’, possibly?

  2. Alan Morgan says:

    Everyone in London lives in a different London and this is just great seeing more of yours, things I’ve never seen/knew. Very good. Roll on Film Freak.

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    Do you remember Hitchcock had a negative thing for eggs, particular runny eggs? He’d often slip in a shot of some form of egg abuse (as he’d slip himself in). I remember one film, but not which film, maybe North By Northwest – another favorite – where Cary Grant (?) grinds out his newly lighted cigarette in a soft-fried egg, in close up.

  4. Gretta says:

    Dan – ahhh, one of my all-time favourite films. Yes, it was NxNW, but it was Grace Kelly’s character’s mother who did the stubbing out. 🙂

  5. Gretta says:

    See what happens when you post before the caffeine has had a chance to kick in? To Catch A Thief, I meant, not North By Northwest.

  6. Dan Terrell says:

    I’m finding two cups of really dark and a third just for the fingers helps my fingers fly. I’m not yet sure if it helps in hitting the keyboard.

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