Welcome to the Elstree & Borehamwood Museum blog.
This blog is about all those happenings inside and outside the Museum that have caught our attention.
From events and exhibitions, to new discoveries in the collections, to news and views.
Any comments and items to go here please contact Simon on email@example.com
On Thursday March 21st, we were delighted to welcome Year 3 from St Theresas Primary. The class explored traditional (pre-games console!) toys, and each pupil had a chance to make their own classic animated flip book. Many thanks for visiting - looking forward to welcoming you again soon.
And on Monday, March 25th, Museum Manager, David Armitage gave a presentation to a class of Yavneh College Sixth Formers. Dave explained the history of Elstree and Borehamwood since the 1930's. Our presentation was very well received, with some excellent questions from a great class. Thank you, Yavneh College, for welcoming us - looking forward to welcoming you to our Museum soon.
This morning, we were delighted to welcome twenty-four Year Twelve students from the local Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School. The boys listened to an excellent presentation by Dave Armitage, Museum Manager, and then had the opportunity to interview some of our local residents about the changes that they have seen during their time in Elstree and Borehamwood. Thank you Haberdashers’, for bringing a fantastic group of students. It was a pleasure to have you, and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Although his name is not that well known outside of the film industry, his work is familiar to any film-goer who has seen strange happenings on screen – ghosts, werewolves, aliens – or battle scenes with exploding bodies and carnage. Someone has to create all the special effects, and, if it involves bodies, then you can bet John is involved. He told the Friends at their latest exclusive Evening, that he started as a plasterer 40 years ago and after moving to Borehamwood got a job at Elstree Studios where his talent led him to creating ‘lifecasts’. If an actor had to perform a dangerous stunt, or to loose a limb or head, then he would make a cast of them from life which could be used for any sort of stunt. Once it was all down to silicon on the skin, but now it’s done by laser scanning, which is quicker and cleaner. His latest work is in the medical sphere where he uses silicon to create babies at different stages for teaching, and he passed a “baby” around for us to see his creativity.
A fascinating evening for anyone interested in films – the next time you see Saving Private Ryan you will know that John is in there pumping blood out of his lifecasts. More details can be found on his website, http://lifecast.co.uk/
Elaine, Helen, and Clive at the stand
The Museum took part in the quarterly Coffee Morning sessions held at All Saints, on Saturday. Their purpose is to show people in Borehamwood and Elstree some of the many activities, clubs and entertainments they can visit and get involved in. The title for our displays was A Year In Photographs. Hard to choose just a handful from the many photos we collected last year from all the events, but hopefully the selection put across some of the things we have enjoyed! A steady flow of people came in and a couple at least then went up to see the latest Exhibition in the Museum S.O.S. - the story of the successful, eight year campaign to Save our Studios. Not to be missed!
Thanks to Andrew Grady for the photos.
Elaine and Mayor Victor Eni
On Wednesday night local celebrity, film historian and excellent raconteur, Paul Welsh, spent an evening with The Friends of the Museum. Linked of course to our current exhibition about his successful efforts to Save Our Studios, it was a chance for us to hear first hand how he and a dedicated team had managed the seemingly impossible task of ensuring Elstree Studios did not become more supermarkets and blocks of flats. To undertake this enterprise with no financial backing and against heavyweight business interests, and then succeed against the odds has become a key event in our local history. So Dave Armitage introduced Paul and told how well the Exhibition was going. Paul spent some time explaining how the campaign worked out and what was involved. Then Maureen Corman, our Friends Organiser, used the rest of the time asking Paul about the films and stars he had met and interviewed over the years. Many a fascinating story was heard before the tea and bioscuits. If you are not a Friend you should be, here.
After last week’s visit by Monksmead Year One, this morning we were very pleased to welcome Year Two from Monksmead School. Dave, Helen and Matt led the children in three activities. Dave delighted our young visitors by working with them to create animated ‘flip’ books, allowing the children to create their own mini cartoon. After this, Dave showed them 8mm film, and explained the process by which it is edited.
Helen showed the children costumes from The Railway Children film and allowed them to participate in a clip from the film, using our very own CGI. Finally, Matt explained how old-fashioned toys entertained ‘pre-tablet’ generations of children! Our visitors then left, after thanking us for the lovely morning they had enjoyed. Thank you, Monksmead School, for bringing your class. Special thanks to Mrs Moynihan, and her colleagues for arranging this. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Today, the Museum was delighted to welcome 27 pupils from Year One of Monksmead School. With the help of Dave and Helen, the pupils engaged in three activities.
Firstly they looked at 'Traditional Toys', from before the Ipad and tablet era. Amongst these were the Diablo, the Yo-Yo and the Skipping Rope. Only us older people really knew what they were.
Then the pupils dressed up as characters from The Railway Children film, which was made in Elstree. They did this against the background of a scene from the film, giving them the impression of being in the film itself.
Finally the students worked with Dave, to create 'flip books'. These were the traditional way of making animated cells before the advent of CGI. Dave allowed them to handle 8mm film, and showed them how 'still' pictures become a movie.
All of our young visitors thoroughly enjoyed their day. A number of them told us it was the 'best morning ever'! Many thanks to Mr Murrin for bringing his class to us. We look forward to welcoming Year 2 next week.
Dave Armitage gave one of his fascinating talks to the Shenley Fellowship this week and was well received by the members. Focussing on The History of North West Borehamwood, Dave expanded on his themes in the recent History Walk to explain the particular details of this area. The development of Theobald Street alone is a lengthy history talk, and when you take in the Organ Hall estate and its changes through the years, let alone the Leeming Road area, there is plenty to explore.
Would your society or club like a presentation from us? Please email us here.
The “Rail Trail” : Back by Popular Demand
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our railway service. This event triggered the rapid growth of Borehamwood and then attracted the studios which have prospered here for over 100 years.
As part of a programme to celebrate this anniversary, in May we held a guided tour of local places associated with the railway. Led by John Cartledge, the founder of the popular series of “Teddy’s Trails” in association with Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council, the walking tour lasted almost 3 hours and included a special authorised visit to the railway station.
The group’s feedback was very positive (“most interesting”, “material you gave us was first class”, “all very well organised”, “very enjoyable”, “lovely to meet everyone”) and so we will run a second session of the “Rail Trail” on Sunday 7th October, starting at 1:30 sharp at Allum Manor (2 Allum Lane WD6 3PJ) Parking is free.
After a short presentation, walkers will receive an extensive information pack before they set off, first to the railway station and then farther afield. We expect to return to Allum Manor by 5:00.
The group will not exceed 30 people; each walker is responsible for wearing footwear and clothing appropriate to the weather, and for observing all safety rules. At no time will the group get closer to the railway lines than when standing on the station platforms.
To register for this FREE event please visit Hertfordshire County Council’s “Walks and More” website here.
Friends Arrive For Their Tour
Yesterday afternoon the Friends of the Museum gathered for a tour of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in the Aldenham sunshine. John Wigley had visited us last October and given a fascinating talk on the history of the school, and he invited us then to pop round for tea. John has written the official history of the school, Serve And Obey (the school motto), and he is a master with a long association with Habs.
John Greets Us with our Info Sheets
We split into three groups, with John leading one, and your scribe being guided by Keith Cheyney. He introduced himself as having had an aunt who was beheaded. Since it was Anne Boleyn, it was a while ago. We were taken through the original house, the home of Lord Aldenham, and out to see the original courtyards, the old BBC building – so called because the BBC had requesitioned the house in the war – and then back via the splendid new Medburn Centre for sports, and the large library and hall.
This was followed by serious tea and scones or cake, and thanks all round. Thanks for a very interesting tour of an important local school.