Denham Film Studios in 1977

Herbert Smith (1901-1986) started sweeping the floors at Denham Film Studios in Buckinghamshire when he was 13 years old. He eventually became controller of the premier British studios from June 1945 until 1950. Above is a picture of Herbert (pointing towards his old office) taken on his last visit there in 1977 (the picture is strictly copyright Barrie Smith 2004). Shortly afterwards a golden era of film history ended, when those once famous studios (built by Sir Alexander Korda in 1935) were demolished by British Land, for construction of an industrial park.

Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) was the last major motion picture to be produced at that massive film complex.

Herbert’s son Barry has produced a website dedicated to his father’s long career at Denham Studios, with some fascinating personal pictures and rarely seen behind -the -scene photographs of the film stars that he met. The site is at http://www.frenchpix.com/herbert.html

I would like to say a special thank you to Barry Smith, for kindly allowing me to use the picture of his father at Denham Studios in 1977.

To read more about Denham Film Studios, please click on the Denham Studios Label.

5 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Herbert Smith (1901-1986)
Denham Film Studios 1977

Neil said...

What a wonderful set of photographs and information from Barry Smith. It is so interesting to hear of anyone with a knowledge of Denham - as it was. Very interested to see Barrys comments on the web site that when Denham was closed in favour of Pinewood it was quickly realised that they closed the wrong studio because they still had to continue sound recording at Denham. Whenever I pass by the front of Denham Film Studios, I get a shiver of excitement even though there is very little left now sadly. The destruction of Denham Studios I think is one of the saddest events in British Film History

Clement of the Glen said...

Hi Neil,

Does the front of the film studios still exist?

Neil said...

The front of Denham Studios does not really exits anymore but it is or was still there in that Rank Film Processing Division is at the front and there is a car park where the 'studio tank' was positioned and used for many water scenes. Also the old Denham Lake must still be as it was - it was on the island there where Korda had his office in the old house and held his script conferences in those days. Also Denham Lake at the rear was used in Treasure Island where the long boats land and Jim Hawkins makes his break for freedom. The frontage to the River Colne was used extensivley in The Story of Robin Hood and History of Mr.Polly. I live in Lincolnshire (like Richard Todd) but pass the front of Denham Studios on occasions - although when I am down that way I make sure I detour in order to do just that. I must be a fool really but the place has such memories of the films for me.

Anonymous said...

was very sad to learn that denham studios is gone. I was in the U.S airforce station there from 1956-1958. I work in the photo lab. My room was #10. What a shame to lose such agreat place\.