Lime Grove Studios

Last updated
Lime Grove Studios in the 1960s LimeGroveStudios.jpg
Lime Grove Studios in the 1960s

Lime Grove Studios was a film, and later television, studio complex in Shepherd's Bush, West London, England.


The complex was built by the Gaumont Film Company in 1915. It was situated in Lime Grove, a residential street in Shepherd's Bush, and when it first opened was described by Gaumont as "the finest studio in Great Britain and the first building ever put up in this country solely for the production of films". Many Gainsborough Pictures films were made here from the early 1930s. Its sister studio was Islington Studios, also used by Gainsborough; films were often shot partly at Islington and partly at Lime Grove.

In 1949, the complex was purchased by the BBC, who used it for television broadcasts until 1991. It was demolished in 1993. [1]

Gaumont-British Picture Corporation

In 1922, Isidore Ostrer along with brothers Mark and Maurice, acquired control of Gaumont-British from its French parent. In 1932 a major redevelopment of Lime Grove Studios was completed, creating one of the best equipped studio complexes of that era. The first film produced at the remodelled studio was the Walter Forde thriller Rome Express (1932), which became one of the first British sound films to gain critical and financial success in the United States (where it was distributed by Universal Pictures).

The studios prospered under Gaumont-British, and in 1941 were bought by the Rank Organisation. By then Rank had a substantial interest in Gainsborough Pictures, and The Wicked Lady (1945), among other Gainsborough melodramas, was shot at Lime Grove.

BBC studios

In 1949 the BBC bought Lime Grove Studios as a "temporary measure"—because they were to build Television Centre at nearby White City—and began converting them from film to television use, reopening them on 21 May 1950. [2]

Lime Grove would be used for many BBC Television programmes over the next forty-two years, including: Nineteen Eighty-Four ; Steptoe and Son ; Doctor Who ; Nationwide ; Top of the Pops ; and The Grove Family , which took its title family from the studios, where it was made. A children's magazine-style programme, Studio E, was broadcast live from the studio of the same name from 1955 until 1958; it was hosted by Vera McKechnie.

Lime Grove's use for programmes outside current affairs declined over time, and later episodes of the continuing series were made at BBC Television Centre and BBC Elstree Centre. Indeed, in Lime Grove Studios' final years, its official name was Lime Grove Current Affairs Production Centre. The last live programme was The Late Show on 13 June 1991 from Studio D, although the final portion of the programme, with a symbolic "unplugging" of a camera power cord in Studio D by Cliff Michelmore, was pre-recorded.

Humble Pie performed Desperation, a Steppenwolf single from the debut albums of both: Steppenwolf and Humble Pie; Natural Born Bugie, their debut single; Heartbeat, a Buddy Holly single, and; The Sad Bag of Shaky Jake, their second single, for a recording-and-broadcast for the BBC. Led Zeppelin performed White Summer and Black Mountain Side there, on The Julie Felix Show, on 23 April 1970.

In 1991 the BBC decided to consolidate its London television production at the nearby BBC Television Centre and to close its other studios including Lime Grove. On 26 August 1991, a month after the studios were closed, the BBC transmitted a special day of programming called The Lime Grove Story, featuring examples of the many programmes and films that had been made at Lime Grove in its 76 years as a place of film and television production. [3] BBC Television Theatre close by, near Shepherd's Bush Green, reverted to being the Shepherd's Bush Empire.

By the end, the building was in such a poor state of repair that the remaining BBC staff nicknamed it "Slime Grove". The building was put on the market and eventually bought by a development company, Notting Hill Housing Association, which demolished the studios in 1993, and redeveloped the site into a housing estate. The streets in the estate were named Gaumont Terrace and Gainsborough Court, in memory of the past owners of Lime Grove Studios.[ citation needed ]

Lime Grove Studios was the setting for the fictional current affairs programme The Hour in the BBC drama of the same name. The studios are also represented in the 2013 drama An Adventure in Space and Time which was shot at Wimbledon Studios.

See also

Related Research Articles

Shepherds Bush Human settlement in England

Shepherd's Bush is a district of West London, England, within the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham 4.9 miles (7.9 km) west of Charing Cross, and identified as a major metropolitan centre in the London Plan.

The Rank Organisation British entertainment conglomerate

The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment conglomerate founded by industrialist J. Arthur Rank in April 1937. It quickly became the largest and most vertically integrated film company in the United Kingdom, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities. It also diversified into the manufacture of radios, TVs and photocopiers. The company name lasted until February 1996, when the name and some of the remaining assets were absorbed into the newly structured The Rank Group Plc. The company itself became a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox and was renamed XRO Limited in 1997.

Television Centre, London Television studio complex in West London, England

Television Centre (TVC) is a building complex in White City, West London, that was the headquarters of BBC Television between 1960 and 2013. After a refurbishment, the complex reopened in 2017 with three studios in use for TV production, operated by BBC Studioworks. The first BBC staff moved into the Scenery Block in 1953, and the centre was officially opened on 29 June 1960. It is one of the most readily recognisable facilities of its type, having appeared as the backdrop for many BBC programmes. Parts of the building are Grade II listed, including the central ring and Studio 1.

Michael Balcon English film producer

Sir Michael Elias Balcon was an English film producer known for his leadership of Ealing Studios in West London from 1938 to 1955. Under his direction, the studio became the one of the most important British film studios of the day. In an industry short of Hollywood-style moguls, Balcon emerged as a key figure, and an obdurately British one too, in his benevolent, somewhat headmasterly approach to the running of a creative organization. He is known for his leadership, as well as guidance of young Alfred Hitchcock.

Gainsborough Pictures Former British film studio

Gainsborough Pictures was a British film studio based on the south bank of the Regent's Canal, in Poole Street, Hoxton in the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, north London. Gainsborough Studios was active between 1924 and 1951. The company was initially based at Islington Studios, which were built as a power station for the Great Northern & City Railway and later converted to studios.

<i>The Grove Family</i>

The Grove Family was a British television series soap opera, generally regarded as the first of its kind broadcast in the UK, made and broadcast by the BBC Television Service from 1954 to 1957. The series concerned the life of the family of the title, who were named after the BBC's Lime Grove Studios where the programme was made.

Mancunian Films

Mancunian Films was a British film production company first organised in 1934. From 1947 it was based in Rusholme, a suburb of Manchester, and produced a number of comedy films, mostly aimed at audiences in the North of England.

Teddington Studios

Teddington Studios was a large British television studio in Teddington, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, providing studio facilities for programmes airing on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky1 and others. The complex also provided studio space for channel continuity. The site was run by the Pinewood Studios Group.

Tonight is a British current affairs television programme, presented by Cliff Michelmore, that was broadcast on BBC live on weekday evenings from 18 February 1957 to 18 June 1965. The producers were the future Controller of BBC1 Donald Baverstock and the future Director-General of the BBC Alasdair Milne. The audience was typically seven million viewers.

The Gaumont-British Picture Corporation produced and distributed films and operated a cinema chain in the United Kingdom. It was established as an offshoot of the Gaumont Film Company of France.

Edward Black was a British film producer, best known for being head of production at Gainsborough Studios in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during which time he oversaw production of the Gainsborough melodramas. He also produced such classic films as The Lady Vanishes (1938). Black has been called "one of the unsung heroes of the British film industry." In 1946 Mason called Black "the one good production executive" that J. Arthur Rank had. Frank Launder called Black "a great showman and yet he had a great feeling for scripts and spent more time on them than anyone I have ever known. His experimental films used to come off as successful as his others."

This is a list of British television related events from 1950.

The Great Barrier is a 1937 British historical drama film directed by Milton Rosmer and Geoffrey Barkas and starring Richard Arlen, Lilli Palmer and Antoinette Cellier. The film depicts the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was based on the 1935 novel The Great Divide by Alan Sullivan. It was made at the Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush. The film's sets were designed by Walter Murton.

BBC Elstree Centre Television production facility in Hertfordshire, England

BBC Elstree Centre, sometimes referred to as BBC Elstree Studios, is a television production facility, currently owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The complex is located on Eldon Avenue in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

History of Shepherds Bush

Shepherd's Bush is a neighbourhood in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham centred on Shepherd's Bush Green. Originally a pasture for shepherds on their way to Smithfield market, it was largely developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1844 the West London Railway officially opened, followed in 1864 by the Metropolitan Railway who built the original Shepherd's Bush station, opening up the area to residential development. Businesses soon followed, and in 1903 the west side of Shepherd's Bush Green became the home of the Shepherd's Bush Empire, a music hall whose early performers included Charlie Chaplin.

Islington Studios Film studios located in London

Islington Studios, often known as Gainsborough Studios, were a British film studio located on the south bank of the Regent's Canal, in Poole Street, Hoxton in the former Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch, London between 1919 and 1949. The studios are closely associated with Gainsborough Pictures which was based there for most of the studio's history. During its existence Islington worked closely with its sister Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush and many films were made partly at one studio and partly at the other. Amongst the films made at the studios were Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, Will Hay comedies and Gainsborough Melodramas.

Pallard the Punter is a 1919 British silent sports crime film directed by J.L.V. Leigh and starring Jack Leigh, Heather Thatcher and Lionel d'Aragon. It was based on the novel Grey Timothy by Edgar Wallace, set in the world of horse racing. It was made by British Gaumont at Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush.

Greek Street is a 1930 British musical film directed by Sinclair Hill and starring Sari Maritza, William Freshman and Martin Lewis. It was made by Gaumont British at their Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush. The film's sets were designed by Andrew Mazzei. The film takes its title from Greek Street in Central London.

No Lady is a 1931 British comedy film directed by Lupino Lane and starring Lane, Renee Clama and Sari Maritza. It was made at Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush by Gaumont British, a company linked to Gainsborough Pictures. The film's sets were designed by art director Andrew Mazzei. It was popular enough to be re-released in 1943.


  1. "The BBC's TV studios in London". Archived from the original on 3 June 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  2. 1950s British TV Milestones Whirligig 50s British TV
  3. Radio Times feature on The Lime Grove Story Archived 2004-01-16 at the Wayback Machine Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Coordinates: 51°30′13″N0°13′38″W / 51.50361°N 0.22722°W / 51.50361; -0.22722