Probus Club – History of Pinewood Studios Talk

The  486th Meeting of Henley Probus Club was held at Badgemore Park on 13 June 13, 2023. The Chairman then welcomed the visiting guests

The Chairman outlined the proposed visiting speakers schedule for 2023:

  •  July 2023: Richard Havelock, “The Royal Berks Medical Museum”.
  • August 2023: Mike Willoughby, “Remembering the Men of Henley Who Died in Two World Wars”.
  • September 2023: Martin Beek, “The Art of the Thames particularly around Henley & Marlow”.
  • October 2023: Graham Horn, “The Kennet and Avon Canal”.

This month’s guest speaker was Mike Payne who spoke about ‘A History of the Pinewood Studios’

The studio is located near Denham in Bucks, and was built in the former gardens of Hetherden Hall, but now extended well beyond that. Charles Boot was the inspiration and the money behind that.

The house remains in use for grand weddings and the gardens are still maintained for use in film production.

Joseph Arthur (JR) Rank came on board in 1936 to launch the studios. The first film was London Melody with Anna Neagle followed by Gangway and Sailing Away with Jessie Matthews.

The Take Away films were produced there. Later, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean produced major films at Pinewood. Genevieve and The Importance of being Ernest were followed after.

Major stars were Dirk Bogart, James Robertson Justice, Norman Wisdom, Kenneth More featured in popular films. The 26 Carry On films and 25 Bond were made there. All were very successful as were the Batman films that followed.

Films continue to be made there as are TV productions.

Henley Probus meets at Badgemore Park on the second Tuesday of each month; it starts with an informal gathering of its members (plus Visitors) for a discussion and coffee, with the formal meeting commencing at 1130 followed by a lunch.

If anyone is interested in joining the Club, please make themselves known to Roger Griffiths our Membership Secretary (01491575137/email or to any Club member that you may know.

Further details of the club can be found on the Club website which can be accessed on


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