Bray Studios

Photo by Pete Reed, August 2007 http://www.flickr.com/photos/petereed/1032495172/

Welcome to the beginnings of a site about Bray Film Studios; the home of Hammer Film Productions from 1952 to 1966.
Bray Studios was used until 2012, for TV programmes, movies, commercials, music video shoots and concert rehearsals.

Threatened with Closure

July 2012: Closure confirmed on BBC News website
July 2010: a proposal was put forward to convert Bray Studios into housing. The main house Down Place will be converted into a family home or flats, and the remainder of the studio buildings will be demolished.
See BBC News story about the proposal
Maidenhead Advertiser article
Join the Facebook Group – Save Bray Studios

NEW: Hammer Films On Location
The book all Hammer fans have been waiting for!

Stage 2 and the entrance to Bray Studios (from Sweet Transvestites website)

Stages

  • Stage 1 (sound) 955sqm
  • Stage 2 (sound) 948sqm [It’s believed that this stage was moved to Bray from MGM Borehamwood (Elstree) when that studio closed.]
  • Stage 3 (sound) 238sqm
  • Stage 4 (sound) 167sqm
  • Tanks: (1) 34x21x9, (2) 33x18x8, (3) 10x8x4.5, (4) 10x8x4.5
  • Free-standing tank with a shooting port 20x12x8

> Official Hammer Films website

> Oakley Court Hotel website


Productions shot at Bray Studios


Feature Film (78)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus2009Terry GilliamIMDB Database page about The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Miniature and model effects work was filmed on soundstages at Bray Studios
Mutant Chronicles2008Simon HunterIMDB Database page about Mutant Chronicles
2nd Unit, Model Unit
The Dark2005John FawcettIMDB Database page about The Dark
Ali G Indahouse2002Mark MylodIMDB Database page about Ali G Indahouse
Reign of Fire2002Rob BowmanIMDB Database page about Reign of Fire
Captain Corelli's Mandolin2001John MaddenIMDB Database page about Captain Corelli
Velvet Goldmine1998Todd HaynesIMDB Database page about Velvet Goldmine
Mojo1997Jez ButterworthIMDB Database page about Mojo
Double X: The Name of the Game1992Shani S. GrewalIMDB Database page about Double X: The Name of the Game
Monkey Island
Edward II1991Derek JarmanIMDB Database page about Edward II
The Witches1990Nicolas RoegIMDB Database page about The Witches
For Queen and Country1988Martin StellmanIMDB Database page about For Queen and Country
Girl in a Swing, The1988Gordon HesslerIMDB Database page about Girl in a Swing, The
A Month in the Country1987Pat O'ConnorIMDB Database page about A Month in the Country
Hope and Glory1987John BoormanIMDB Database page about Hope and Glory
Loophole1981John QuestedIMDB Database page about Loophole
The Wildcats of St Trinians1980Frank LaunderIMDB Database page about The Wildcats of St Trinians
Also used the adjacent Oakley Court mansion
Agatha1979Michael AptedIMDB Database page about Agatha
Alien1979Ridley ScottIMDB Database page about Alien
Bray Studios was the home of the model unit. Detailed models were built and photographed here.
The Hound of the Baskervilles1978Paul MorrisseyIMDB Database page about The Hound of the Baskervilles
Stage 02
Murder by Death1976Robert MooreIMDB Database page about Murder by Death
Exterior of the Lionel Twain mansion was shot at Oakley Court, adjacent to Bray Studios. Interiors were shot at Warner Bros in Burbank.
The Hiding Place1975James F. CollierIMDB Database page about The Hiding Place
The Rocky Horror Picture Show1975Jim SharmanIMDB Database page about The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Bray Studios was the base for the production. Many interiors were shot at Oakley Court, next door, which also provided the exterior of the castle. The sets filmed at the Court were: criminologist's study, Brad's room, Janet's room, dining room, Columbia's room, entrance hall and stairs.
The movie was in production from October 21, 1974 to December 19, 1974 at Bray Studios and the dilapidated Oakley Court mansion house (now hotel).
Fear is the Key1972Michael TuchnerIMDB Database page about Fear is the Key
Pope Joan1972Michael AndersonIMDB Database page about Pope Joan
Sunday Bloody Sunday1971John SchlesingerIMDB Database page about Sunday Bloody Sunday
The Music Lovers1970Ken RussellIMDB Database page about The Music Lovers
Frankenstein Created Woman1967Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Frankenstein Created Woman
The Mummy's Shroud1967John GillingIMDB Database page about The Mummy
Dracula: Prince of Darkness1966Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Rasputin: The Mad Monk1966Don SharpIMDB Database page about Rasputin: The Mad Monk
The Plague of the Zombies1966John GillingIMDB Database page about The Plague of the Zombies
Oakley Court was used as the Squire's house.
The Reptile1966John GillingIMDB Database page about The Reptile
Dr Franklyn's house was Oakley Court, adjacent to Bray Studios
The Devil-Ship Pirates1964Don SharpIMDB Database page about The Devil-Ship Pirates
The Evil of Frankenstein1964Freddie FrancisIMDB Database page about The Evil of Frankenstein
The Gorgon1964Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Gorgon
The Scarlet Blade1964John GillingIMDB Database page about The Scarlet Blade
The Damned1963Joseph LoseyIMDB Database page about The Damned
The Kiss of the Vampire1963Don SharpIMDB Database page about The Kiss of the Vampire
The Old Dark House1963William CastleIMDB Database page about The Old Dark House
Phantom of the Opera1962Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Phantom of the Opera
The Pirates of Blood River1962John GillingIMDB Database page about The Pirates of Blood River
Terror of the Tongs, The1961Anthony BushellIMDB Database page about Terror of the Tongs, The
The Curse of the Werewolf1961Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Curse of the Werewolf
The Shadow of the Cat1961John GillingIMDB Database page about The Shadow of the Cat
Brides of Dracula, The1960Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Brides of Dracula, The
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll1960Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
Stranglers of Bombay, The1959Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Stranglers of Bombay, The
The Hound of the Baskervilles1959Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Man Who Could Cheat Death1959Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Man Who Could Cheat Death
The Mummy1959Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Mummy
Yesterday's Enemy1959Val GuestIMDB Database page about Yesterday
Camp on Blood Island, The1958Val GuestIMDB Database page about Camp on Blood Island, The
Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula)1958Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula)
Oakley Court mansion was used as the interior of Holmwood's house
The film was shot back-to-back with The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), using the same sets. Thus, for example, Dracula's crypt became Frankenstein's surgery, and the castle exterior became the outside of the Baron's laboratory.
Further Up The Creek1958Val GuestIMDB Database page about Further Up The Creek
I Only Arsked!1958Montgomery TullyIMDB Database page about I Only Arsked!
The Revenge of Frankenstein1958Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Revenge of Frankenstein
The film was shot back-to-back with Dracula (1958), using the same sets. Thus, for example, Dracula's crypt became Frankenstein's surgery, and the castle exterior became the outside of the Baron's laboratory.
The Abominable Snowman1957Val GuestIMDB Database page about The Abominable Snowman
The Curse of Frankenstein1957Terence FisherIMDB Database page about The Curse of Frankenstein
The adjacent Oakley Court features as the castle
Blonde Bait1956Elmo WilliamsIMDB Database page about Blonde Bait
X: The Unknown1956Leslie NormanIMDB Database page about X: The Unknown
Glass Cage, The (aka The Glass Tomb)1955Montgomery TullyIMDB Database page about Glass Cage, The (aka The Glass Tomb)
The Quatermass Xperiment (aka The Creeping Unknown)1955Val GuestIMDB Database page about The Quatermass Xperiment (aka The Creeping Unknown)
Face the Music (aka The Black Glove)1954Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Face the Music (aka The Black Glove)
Five Days (aka Paid to Kill)1954Montgomery TullyIMDB Database page about Five Days (aka Paid to Kill)
House Across The Lake, The (aka Heat Wave)1954Ken HughesIMDB Database page about House Across The Lake, The (aka Heat Wave)
Life with the Lyons (aka Family Affair)1954Val GuestIMDB Database page about Life with the Lyons (aka Family Affair)
Mask of Dust1954Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Mask of Dust
Men of Sherwood Forest, The1954Val GuestIMDB Database page about Men of Sherwood Forest, The
Stranger Came Home, The (aka The Unholy Four)1954Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Stranger Came Home, The (aka The Unholy Four)
Third Party Risk (aka The Big Deadly Game)1954Daniel BirtIMDB Database page about Third Party Risk (aka The Big Deadly Game)
Blood Orange (aka Three Stops to Murder)1953Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Blood Orange (aka Three Stops to Murder)
Flanagan Boy, The (aka Bad Blonde)1953Reginald Le BorgIMDB Database page about Flanagan Boy, The (aka Bad Blonde)
Four Sided Triangle1953Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Four Sided Triangle
Mantrap (aka Man in Hiding)1953Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Mantrap (aka Man in Hiding)
Three Stops to Murder1953Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Three Stops to Murder
Man Bait (aka The Last Page)1952Terence FisherIMDB Database page about Man Bait (aka The Last Page)
The Gambler and the Lady1952Patrick JenkinsIMDB Database page about The Gambler and the Lady

Short Film (1)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
The Spy's Wife1972Gerry O'HaraIMDB Database page about The Spy

TV Series (9)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
How Do You Want Me1998-1999IMDB Database page about How Do You Want Me
Red Dwarf1988-IMDB Database page about Red Dwarf
Effects & model work
Inspector Morse1987-2000IMDB Database page about Inspector Morse
The Invisible Man1984Brian LighthillIMDB Database page about The Invisible Man
Blakes 71978 - 1981VariousIMDB Database page about Blakes 7
Model and special effects shots, from 15 August 1977 (Episode 1, Season 1)
Space 19991975 - 1977Gerry Anderson, Sylvia AndersonIMDB Database page about Space 1999
Effects and model work (1973-1977)
Star Maidens1975Eric Paice IMDB Database page about Star Maidens
Doctor Who (classic)1963 - 1989VariousIMDB Database page about Doctor Who (classic)
Effects and model work (1972-1979)
The Errol Flynn Theatre1956Lawrence HuntingtonIMDB Database page about The Errol Flynn Theatre

TV Movie (2)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
Britannic2000Brian Trenchard-SmithIMDB Database page about Britannic
RKO 2811999Benjamin RossIMDB Database page about RKO 281

Concerts / Gigs rehearsed at Bray Film Studios

The large size of the stages, and the relative seclusion of the studios enabled Bray to be used to setup entire concert lighting, sound and projection rigs before touring begins.

Flight cases at Bray Studios during a concert rehearsal

Here’s a list of some events that have used Bray Studios for pre-production rehearsals.

  • Sweet – 1977 [ref]
  • Led Zeppelin – July 1979 [ref]
  • Led Zeppelin – September 1980 [ref]
  • Eric Clapton – 1984 [ref]
  • Live Aid – July 1985 [ref] David Bowie rehearsals (presumably along with other acts)
  • Duran Duran – November 1988 [ref]
  • Phil Collins – February 9 1990 [ref]
  • Erasure – Wild Tour – 1990 [ref]
  • Status Quo – 1991 [ref]
  • George Harrison & Eric Clapton – November 1991 [ref]
  • Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – April 1992 [ref]
  • Eric Clapton – 1992 [ref]
  • Genesis – January 1998 [ref]
  • Roger Waters – In the Flesh – 2002 [ref]
  • Queen & Paul Rodgers – March 2005 [ref]
  • Dave Gilmour / Roger Waters – 2005 [ref]
  • War of the Worlds Concert Version – Jeff Wayne

    Cream – April 2005 [ref]

  • The War of the Worlds Concert version (Jeff Wayne)- pre-production tests & rehearsals – March 2006 – Stage 1 [ref]
  • Kasabian – 2006 [ref]
  • CBeebies Live! – 2006 [ref]
  • Amy Winehouse – 2007 [ref]
  • Darren Hayes – September 2007 [ref]
  • Mark Knopfler – March 2008 [ref]
  • Radiohead – April 2008 [ref]
  • Kings of Leon – Summer 2008 [ref]

History of Bray Studios

1750

Down Place, a country house on the banks of the River Thames between the towns of Bray and Windsor, is constructed.
The illustration is from “The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction” by Reuben Percy, John Timbs, John Limbird, published in 1833.

1767

Some websites claim that Down Place was used as the meeting place for the Kit-Cat Club during the ownership of Jacob Tonson (1655/6–1736), the bookseller. However, there’s little evidence for this, and many references connect Jacob Tonson to a completely different property, which was demolished in 1816. The Kit-Cat Club appear to have met in Tonson’s property in Temple Bar, London.
After Tonson’s death in 1736, he left the collection of pictures of the members of the Club to his great nephew (also called Jacob Tonson), who died in 1767 [ref]. They were then removed to Down Place, the house of his brother Richard Tonson, where a room was built to house the portraits. This is the only connection between Down Place and the Kit-Cat Club. [ref]
Other sources [ref] say that Richard Tonson is the grandson of Jacob Tonson the bookseller.

1772

9 October: Richard Tonson dies [ref]

1835 – 1901

Down Place is the residence of the Harford family. Henry Harford [ref] died in 1835, and his son Frederick then moved in until at least 1901 [ref]. In 1891 there were 4 members of the Harford family, along with 8 servants inside, 4 in the stables and a gardener & family and a cowman with family in a cottage and a lodge.
In 1901 there was a total of 11 live-in servants.

1857

Oakley Court, a castellated and turreted gothic mansion, is built for Richard Hall-Saye adjacent to Down Place. [ref]

1919

Oakley Court was bought by Ernest Olivier for the sum of £27,000 [ref], who was the Turkish Consul in Monte Carlo. He entertained many diplomats there. During the Second World War, General De Gaulle was a frequent visitor, hence the Court is often said to have been the headquarters of the French Resistance.

1951

Hammer Film Productions, in search of a base to make their budget horror films, settles on the derelict Down Place. Shooting in country houses avoided the need to build sets, and usually also meant large grounds were available for location work.

1952

As the one year lease on Down Place had run out, and a union strike prevented a move to a studio, Hammer decide to build a studio in the grounds of Down Place, and name it Bray Studios, after the local town.

1965

Mr Ernest Oliver, owner of Oakley Court and some woodland adjacent to Bray Studios, dies, leaving the Court uninhabited. The building became an ideal setting for many Bray productions, especially featuring in Hammer Films such as The Old Dark House, the St Trinians series, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Half a Sixpence and Murder By Death.

1966

The last Hammer production made at Bray was The Mummy’s Shroud, which wrapped on 21 October 1966

1970

November – Bray Studios sold by Hammer Film Productions.

1972 – 1979

Used for effects work on various Doctor Who episodes. Live action material was shot at BBC TV Centre. http://www.doctorwholocations.net/locations/braystudios

1973 – 1975

Bray Studios were the home of the special effects team for Gerry Andersons “Space 1999” series 1. All the special model effects of Eagle spacecraft, alien spacecraft, Moonbase Alpha and long shots on alien planets were all filmed here. All sets with the actors were filmed at Pinewood.

1973?

During demolition of MGM Borehamwood Studios, Stage 10 from MGM was dismantled and re-built at Bray Studios – it’s now Stage 2 at Bray.

1975

Bray was where the Anglo-German sci-fi series “Star Maidens” was filmed. This included all model work and the standing sets on the planet Mendusa, internal sets of the various spacecraft. Keith Wilson, the series designer, also worked on Space 1999 and shipped in various props and set dressings to re-use from it from Pinewood.

Jan 1976 – Feb 1977

Bray was again the home of the special effects team when they worked on the second series of “Space 1999”.

1979 – 1980

Hammer House of Horror TV series filmed at nearby Hamden House

1981

September 7th: Oakley Court, featured in dozens of films produced at Bray, is reopened as a luxury country house hotel, after the building of two additional wings for more rooms. [ref]

1981 – 2012

Bray Studios is used for TV production and rehearsals for concert tours.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_Film_Productions
Thanks to Mark Anthony Craig for additional information
Water Oakley page at Royal Berkshire History site
Dictionary of Hammer Horror
Information about Jacob Tonson

Space 1999 Behind the Scenes photos

 

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