PINEWOOD STUDIO


Charles Boot's desire was to start a new studio in England. In 1934, he had the opportunity that he required. Heatherden Hall, a victorian house with a mansion addition, became available at the death of its owner, Mr. Morden. The estate included a large ballroom, swimming pool, turkish bath, sixteen acres of formal gardens, and a total of one hundred acres of land. The Hall was near the town of Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire, more than twenty miles west of London. The selling price was less than a tenth of the 300,000 that had been spent upgrading the property, which included nearly a hundred acres of land.

After purchasing the property, Boot established a Country Club. The ballroom was converted into a restaurant and many of the bedrooms became furnished suites. Land across the road from the hall was purchased with the intention of building housing for the workers of the studio.

James Sloan was hired as general manager and it was probably he who designed the studio setup. The sound stages were arranged with one large and one small one adjoined with shared dressing rooms, offices, and other facilities. Eight such units were planned to surround a covered rectangular area where the workshops, wardrobe, and property departments were situated, each equally distant from the stages. However, only five of the stages were erected.

The architect for the project was A.F.B. Anderson. Construction commenced in November 1935. Each stage was completed in twenty-one days. The grounds were wired underground while all electrical gear in the sound stages was suspended from ceiling grids.

Joseph Arthur Rank soon joined the studio as a producer. In 1936, British and Dominions infused capital into the studio while becoming part owners.

September 30, 1936 was the grand opening of the studio after an expenditure of 1,000,000.

"London Melody" was the first film to be finished at the studio, but portions of it had been lensed at Elstree Studios before a fire there. The first film to be completely shot at Pinewood was "Talk of the Devil".

"At the Earth's Core" and "The People That Time Forgot" used the Pinewood Studio soundstages.


The Pinewood Studio Backlot with sets for "Cleopatra"