Just along the street from our luxury serviced apartments here at 20 The Barons, it is a joy to behold Twickenham Studios once again thriving at the heart of the British film industry. Millions of pounds have been spent in the last two years re-establishing the theatres and stages as a world-leading facility. Equipment has been installed that boggles The Baron’s mind: 48-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system, AMS Neve DFC Gemini mixing console with 900-path capacity, super-fast Sohonet Broadband and ISDN, with full FTP accessibility…
It is all a world away from the silent movie studios established on an old skating rink that began Twickenham’s extraordinary history on the same spot just over one hundred years ago. The Baron was both excited and amused when his historical research revealed an advertisement for the first film that was ever made here. The House Of Temperley (1913) was directed by Harold M. Shaw and starred Charles Maude, Ben Webster and Lillian Logan. Even then, there was a sprinkling of stardust, as the screenplay was based on a book by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle. And the advertisement in the Yorkshire Evening Post of Monday 17 November 1913 does not hold back on the superlatives:
THE HOUSE OF TEMPERLEY
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.
Adapted from “RODNEY STONE.”
Produced by the London Film Company.
THE FINEST FILM EVER SHOWN.
First Press Notices:—
“Infinitely better than my own play.” SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
“A triumph all round. It will stir the blood of the most sluggish… Makes us long for more.” EVENING NEWS, London.
“The large audience sat spell-bound. Nothing quite like it has ever been seen on the Cinema.” THE STAR.
“Heralds an important new epoch in The British Cinematograph Industry.” STANDARD.
Admission, 6d. and 1/-. Continuous Performance, 1 to 10.30 p.m.
PATRONS ARE REQUESTED TO COME EARLY.
The advert captures a moment in history, and it is humbling to think back to a time – eight months before the outbreak of the First World War – when flickering and silent black-and-white images held the country’s theatre-goers in thrall. We take our technological marvels a little for granted these days. But, one hundred years on, it is a privilege to see cutting-edge movies still being shot on the Twickenham stages and edited in the cutting rooms. It represents both the continuation of a special heritage at the heart of St Margarets, and a modern creative hub that continues to attract to the area talent and technical know-how that is the envy of the world.
The House of Temperley