Borehamwood (//—formerly spelt Boreham Wood) is a town in southern Hertfordshire. It is a commuter town near St Albans and London, situated 12 miles (19 km) from Charing Cross. Borehamwood has a population of 31,074, and is within the civil parish of Elstree and Borehamwood and the London commuter belt. The town is perhaps most well known for its multiple film and TV studios (although only two of any significance remain), commonly known as Elstree Studios, hence the association with Elstree.
One of the earliest mentions of Bosci de Boreham (Wood of Boreham), is in 1188:
- "In 1188 Pope Clement granted to the kitchen of the monastery the whole land of Elstree. He also gave to the Abbey the wood of Boreham for the feeding of the swine."
In 1776, the House of Lords granted:
- "An Act for dividing and closing the Common or Waste Ground, called Boreham Wood Common, in the Parish of Elstree otherwise Idletree, in the Country of Hertford."
Until 1909, the town was part of the ancient parish of Elstree; the two still share a local council, Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council.
From the 1920s onwards, the town became known as one of the main centres of the UK film, and later television, industries due to the presence of production studios.
Following the Second World War, the town's population greatly increased, with large areas of council housing set up for displaced Londoners, many of which are now in private ownership. Fast train connections to central London have resulted in the town becoming a primarily residential suburb. In 1946, the Admiralty started to build highly secret high-performance electronic digital computers at Borehamwood in a redundant wartime factory, firstly for the purpose of real-time gunnery control, and later for surface-to-air guided weapons and missiles, and for specialist cryptography and code-breaking computers for GCHQ.
Borehamwood is currently[when?] undergoing a substantial housing transformation which has seen hundreds of new homes built over the last five years. There are currently two further developments being built and more are expected.
In addition to the studios, the town is also home to many retail shops, hotels, restaurants, offices and light industry. The hotels cater mainly to tourists visiting the Elstree Studios, attendees of the television shows being recorded in the Elstree Studios and London visitors due to the proximity to London and the considerable lower accommodation rates.
There is one weekly newspaper, the Borehamwood and Elstree Times.
Metroline for London buses runs its number 107 service through the town from New Barnet to Edgware and back, whilst London Sovereign for London buses operates the number 292 bus service going into north-west London. The Uno (bus company) run a bus service that stops at Borehamwood starting from Hatfield to Stanmore and back, as well as a bus service that goes to Watford. Intalink operate a bus service to other parts of Hertfordshire.
|Climate data for Boreham Wood|
|Average high °C (°F)||8
|Average low °C (°F)||5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||50.7
Since the 1920s, the town has been home to several film studios and many shots of its streets are included in final cuts of 20th century British films. This earned it the nickname of the "British Hollywood". Whilst most of these studios have now closed, two still remain.
Many well-known films including The Dam Busters (1955), Star Wars (1977-), Moby Dick (1956), Summer Holiday (1963), Dr Zhivago (1965)', 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and, The Shining (1980) starring Jack Nicholson, some of the Indiana Jones films were filmed at the former Associated British Studios in Shenley Road. These were partly demolished in the 1980s to make way for a Tesco Extra supermarket on one side and an office block complex on the other.
The area between the supermarket and the office blocks is all that remains of the original studio, which has been much reduced in size and usefulness to production companies as a result. Elstree Studios were more recently used for the popular TV series Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Big Brother, as well as several major feature films. The Inspector Morse TV series' production offices were based in the studios and, although the series was supposedly set in Oxford, several exterior locations (banks, shops etc.) were filmed in the streets of Borehamwood.
The former British National Studios off Clarendon Road, referred to locally as "The Douglas Fairbanks studios" (which were bought by Lew Grade's ATV in 1962), are now the BBC Elstree Studios. The studios have, over the years, been home to Alfred Hitchcock's film Blackmail, Gerry Anderson's TV series UFO, Jim Henson's TV series The Muppet Show was also produced there, and now BBC's popular soap, EastEnders and their medical drama Holby City. An episode of Judge John Deed included scenes of the Tesco Extra, but with Borehamwood crossed out and Lewes written in its place.
Several other studios including The Gate Studio and the Danziger Studios at nearby Elstree have been demolished. The MGM-British Studios complex (demolished in the early 1970s) saw the production of many well-known films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), as well as many ITV television series including The Prisoner (1967–68).
The newer Millennium Studios is situated on Elstree Way, Borehamwood.
The UK headquarters of Pizza Hut Restaurants are based within the town, the head office of the Delivery portion having moved to nearby St Albans in 2015; and, until 2003, so were the headquarters of the United Kingdom subsidiary of T-Mobile, with both being based in the office blocks standing on part of what used to be the old Elstree Studios. Regent Inns has its head office on Elstree Way. George Wimpey also has large offices within the town.
- Simon Cowell (born 1959), reality television judge and producer, raised in Elstree.
- Jaye Davidson, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film The Crying Game, grew up here and went to Hillside Comprehensive School (now Yavneh College).
- Ray Davies, actor, director, producer, guitarist, primary vocalist and songwriter for The Kinks, lived in Borehamwood during the late 1960s.
- Den Dover (born 1938), Member of the European Parliament, lives in Borehamwood.
- Prof. Angus Charles Graham (1919–1991), Professor of Classical Chinese, London University, 1971–84, lived in Borehamwood.
- James Hay Stevens (1913–1973) FRAeS. Aviation journalist, editor Aircraft Engineering (1945–1957), illustrator and pilot lived in Borehamwood. He is known for developing the 1:72nd scale model used by Airfix and many other toy manufacturers.
- Sir Robert Holland (c.1283–1328), nobleman, was murdered in Borehamwood on 15 Oct 1328.
- Marilyn, early 80s New Romantic singer went to St Teresa's Catholic School
- Shona McGarty, plays Whitney Dean in EastEnders.
- Tim Sherwood, former footballer and manager.
- John Frederick Tayler (1802–1889), watercolour painter, and President of the then-called Old Society, was born on 30 April 1802 at Borehamwood.
- Gino D'Acampo celebrity chef lives in Elstree.
- Dele Alli English footballer, lives in Elstree
Sport and recreation
The first third of the Watling Chase Timberland Trail stretches from Elstree & Borehamwood railway station up to Shenley. South of the town is a large area of grassland and trees called Woodcock Hill Village Green. Section 16 of the London Outer Orbital Path (London Loop) runs adjacent to the town, starting in Elstree and through Scratchwood towards the London Borough of Barnet.
Borehamwood is home to Boreham Wood F.C., Arsenal Ladies and Watford F.C. Reserves who play their home games at Meadow Park. There are several parks in the area. Aberford Park is featured with the source of the brook which has been artificially been made to look like a lake. Meadow Park includes a large playing field, tennis courts and basketball courts.
Borehamwood has a large shopping area called Borehamwood Shopping Park, featuring large stores such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Next, Outfit - which includes Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Miss Selfridge, WH Smith, Boots, and more recently JD Sports, which takes place of JJB Sports, and newly added Poundland, Lidl, Metro Bank, and Pets at Home.
The hamlet of Well End has a notable pub, the Mops and Brooms, reputedly the site of a battle between travellers and village folk. Adjacent to the pub is a much older building: Nelson Cottage (c.1600) is now a private residence but was the original Mops and Brooms alehouse. It was renamed the Lord Nelson c.1840–50 and traded under that name until its closure in 1932 and replacement by the current pub, which eventually reverted to the older name.
The Borehamwood & Elstree Times is a privately owned, online-only local newspaper covering the local and adjacent area. The Town Crier is a quarterly, council-run community publication for Elstree & Borehamwood residents.
Borehamwood has a number of primary schools, including Cowley Hill Primary School, Woodlands Primary School and Parkside School. Secondary schools include Hertswood Academy, Elstree University Technical College and Yavneh College. Independent schools include Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' and Girls' schools.
Nearby towns and villages
References by media and the arts
- Borehamwood is the town upon which one of three maps is based in the game Urban Dead. This map was released as part of the promotional campaign for the release of British writer Charlie Brooker's Dead Set (TV series)
- Neighbourhood Statistics 2011 census population Borehamwood, Retrieved 28 May 2013
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Hertsmere Retrieved 2 February 2010
- William Page (editor), "Elstree", A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2, 1908 (at British History Online) retrieved 16 Oct 2011. Refers to Matthew Paris', Chronica Majora, vi, 46.
- <Journals of the House of Lords, Volume 34, Publisher HMSO, 1774 (page 614)
- Simon Lavington ed. 2012 Alan Turing and his contemporaries: Building the World's First Computers BCS
- "Averages for Borehamwood".
- "Euro MP told to repay £500k", Borehamwood & Elstree Times, Thursday 13 November 2008. Retrieved 15 Oct 2011
- 'Graham, Prof. Angus Charles', Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 15 Oct 2011
- Flight International, 15 March 1973 (page 366)
- New Scientist, 12 Aug 1971. (page 376)
- Arthur Ward, The Boys' Book of Airfix: Who Says You Ever Have to Grow Up?, Publisher: Random House, 2009, ISBN 0-09-192898-2, ISBN 978-0-09-192898-8, 192 pages (page 49)
- J. R. Maddicott, 'Holland, Sir Robert (c.1283–1328)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 15 Oct 2011
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/2006. Queen Anne Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-1-85291-662-6.
- About the Royal Watercolour Society Archived 21 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine website, retrieved 15 Oct 2011
- Simon Fenwick, 'Tayler, (John) Frederick (1802–1889)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 15 Oct 2011
- Watling Chase Timberland Trail leaflet
- Rothwell, D., Dictionary of Pub Names[year needed][page needed]
- Historic England. "Nelson Cottage (1103547)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- Filming locations for Grange Hill
- The Urban Dead Wiki - Borehamwoord