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Concert Venues :: Lime Grove Studios


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Date Opened 1915
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Lime Grove Studios was a film studio complex built by the Gaumont Film Company in 1915 situated in a street named Lime Grove, in Shepherds Bush London W12 near Hammersmith, west London and 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".

The studios prospered under Gaumont, and later, Gainsborough Pictures and not long after the start of World War II were bought by J. Arthur Rank and became a home on many occasions to the Ealing comedies. The famous British film The Wicked Lady (1945) was also made at Lime Grove.

In 1949, the BBC bought Lime Grove Studios as a "temporary measure" - as 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.

Lime Grove would be home to many BBC TV shows over the next forty-two years, including: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Quatermass II, Steptoe and Son, Doctor Who, Nationwide, Top of the Pops and the 1950s soap opera The Grove Family took the name of its title family from the studios, where it was made. The last live programme was The Late Show on 14 June 1991 from studio D.

In 1991, the BBC decided to consolidate its London television production at BBC Television Centre and close its other studios including Lime Grove and so it was that on 26 August 1991, a month after the studios were closed forever, 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.Television Theatre close by, near Shepherds Bush Green, closed the following year.

The studios were closed in July 1991. The last programme made here was an edition of The Late Show from D. The studios had acquired an extraordinary history as film studios for thirty-four years and television studios for forty-two years. After the BBC left, the buildings were demolished, the rubble used as hardcore for the widening of the M25, and a small housing estate now occupies the site. The roads are named after the film companies that once used the studios but no physical record of the BBCs work in Lime Grove remains. I suppose nobody would want to live in a road called Quatermass Court or Steptoe Street.

Incidentally - a couple of people have written to me informing me that the building was in fact riddled with asbestos. This had to be dealt with by a specialist company prior to the demolition. The cost of sanitizing it whilst the building was in place would apparently have been far too great - hence, despite opposition from some quarters, demolition was the only option.

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