80 years of movie magic
Milestone year for Pinewood
PINEWOOD Studios is celebrating its 80th anniversary, having opened for business on September 30, 1936.
The studios, based in Iver, has been responsible for some of the biggest movies ever, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Aliens, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Superman and the Da Vinci Code. It is perhaps best known, however, for its mega-franchises James Bond, Carry On and Harry Potter.
Based at a Victorian mansion called Heatherden Hall the site was owned by Col. Grant Morden who was MP for Brentford and Chiswick at the time. It was the site for the negotiation and signing of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland in 1921, better known as the Anglo-Irish Treaty. This is the treaty that declared Ireland to be a Free State. The studio also had a huge role to play in The Second World War. As well as being requisitioned for use by the Crown Film Unit, the Army Film and Photographic Unit, RAF Film Unit, the Polish Air Force Film Unit for the making of propaganda and news films, Lloyd’s of London and The Royal Mint used the studio’s stages as their offices.
The modern studio complex is now made up of 20 stages, with the biggest and most famous being the 59,000 sq ft, 007 Stage. Originally built for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
The 007 Stage burnt to the ground in 1984 and reopened in January 1985 with the new name, “Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage”, in time for filming of A View to a Kill.
Another fire occurred in July 2006 just after production ended on the Bond film Casino Royale. The fire-damaged stage was demolished in September and construction on the new stage was completed in under six months.
Pinewood also has an underwater stage – the only one of it’s king in Europe. It measures an incredible 240 x 60 ft and is always filled and maintained. It has featured in movies like The Da Vinci Code and Basic Instinct 2.
Most recently a deal has been brokered for the multimillion pound sale of the company that owns Pinewood Studios.
The Financial Conduct Authority ( FCA) has gave the go-ahead for a deal which would see London based asset management business Aermont Capital LLP acquire the Iver Heath based studios for £323 million.
n IN THE BEGINNING: Actor Robert Douglas stands on a camera dolly at the opening of Pinewood Studios in 1936. With him are Carol Reed and Sally Eilers