Plans re­vealed for his­toric for­mer home of Den­ham Film Lab­o­ra­to­ries

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

We­ston Homes has ac­quired the fa­mous Den­ham Film Lab­o­ra­to­ries, orig­i­nally part of Den­ham Film Stu­dios.

The Grade II listed Art Deco main lab­o­ra­tory and head of­fice build­ing was built in 1936 and de­signed by Wal­ter Gropius for film pro­ducer Alexan­der Korda.

That and the sur­round­ing 11.94 acre site is to be trans­formed to cre­ate a new de­vel­op­ment called the Den­ham Film Stu­dios.

It will com­prise 224 con­verted and newly-built homes, de­signed around gar­den squares, land­scaped grounds, wa­ter fea­tures, pri­vate gar­dens and pro­tected wood­land.

And the new de­vel­op­ment will re­tain the cin­ema – used to screen movies to Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tors in­clud­ing Stan­ley Kubrick, Al­bert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Steven Spiel­berg – which will be re­fur­bished and turned into a cin­ema theatre and club for res­i­dents.

Movie themed public art­work is planned for the grounds with large for­mat plates of glass (each around 1.6 me­tres high by 4 me­tres long) etched with scenes from the fa­mous movies pro­duced at the stu­dios.

And, sub­ject to the nec­es­sary con­sents, streets within the de­vel­op­ment will be named af­ter movies, film di­rec­tors and ac­tors/ ac­tresses who worked at the film stu­dios over the decades.

Den­ham Film Stu­dios and its main lab­o­ra­to­ries build­ing played a cen­tral role in Hol­ly­wood and Bri­tish movie mak­ing for almost 80 years.

In 1939 the film stu­dios and lab­o­ra­to­ries were ac­quired by the Rank Or­gan­i­sa­tion, which owned Pinewood Film Stu­dios in neigh­bour­ing Iver Heath.

The Rank Or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cused all film lab­o­ra­tory work at Den­ham, but the ad­ja­cent stu­dio lots were closed in 1952 in favour of oper­a­tions at Pinewood.

In its hey­day the lab­o­ra­tory was the largest and most ad­vanced out­side of Hol­ly­wood, pro­duc­ing more than 500 mil­lion feet of film per year on site, with com­pleted films dis­trib­uted to cin­e­mas around the world.

Dur­ing the 1930s more than 1,200 peo­ple were em­ployed at Den­ham and even into the late 1970s there were some 700 em­ploy­ees at the com­plex.

Films pro­duced and edited on site in­clude: Brief En­counter, The Great Es­cape, Star Wars: The Em­pire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Re­turn of the Jedi, Tomorrow Never Dies, ET, Su­per­man 1,2 & 3, Gold­en­Eye, War Horse, Eyes Wide Shut, Quan­tum of So­lace and Sky­fall.

How the lab­o­ra­tory could look. Be­low and right, the com­plex in its hey­day

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