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.
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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.
It is that time of the year again, and we are selling our local Christmas Cards in the foyer of 96 Shenley Road. From 11am to 4pm on the next three Saturdays our table will be on full view for you to purchase those last minute cards and presents. Featuring local views from Elstree and Boreham Wood, we have a range of Christmassy scenes, local pubs, and local landmarks. We also have Museum pens, keyrings and tote bags, along with post cards and other items. Look out for our new card of the Elstree Way Hotel in the snow.
Yes, our small but perfectly formed Museum has now been open at 96 Shenley Road for 5 years this week. So of course we had a party for the volunteers, trustees, and sponsors to celebrate. And because it was coming up to Christmas we just had to combine the two celebrations. Thanks to the generosity of Norman and Ann Shuker we gathered at Schopwick House in Elstree to cut the magnificent ‘5’-shaped cake and to imbibe some flavoured waters. After the speeches from Dave Armitage, Museum Manager, Clive Butchins, Chairman of the Trustees, and Anne Mitchell, the Deputy Mayor of our Town Council, we could get down to the serious business of the afternoon – discussing Ruth’s boots!
Last chance to see…
Elstree and Borehamwood, 1914-1918
The Museum remembered the men and women of Elstree and Borehamwood in All Saints Church with an exhibition highlighting Remembrance and Thanksgiving.
The panels contain details, researched from materials provided by the British Legion, of the people who served, their families and homes. A Roll of Honour commemorates the men who did not come back home, from both villages. These panels were compiled by Ann and Alan Lawrence, who with others opened the first Museum in Drayton Road.
All the details on these men are held in the museum: their full names, regiments, place of burial (if known) and age.
The Museum has been asked to let people see the exhibition in the church until after next Sunday’s services on 18th of November.
Our laser wands are ready, our helmets are on, and our costumes are complete. Come on down to our new S.O.S. Exhibition and join in the fun! Dress up as a Star Wars trouper, and defend the Galaxy. No Darth Vaders here, no Death Stars. Be Princess Leia or a Jedi master and try out your lightsabers.
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.
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When you visit our new Exhibition, S.O.S., make sure you linger at our new display cabinet next to the video screen. This is what we affectionately call ‘Paul’s Cabinet’. Inside you will see many items from Paul Welsh’s personal film memorabilia collection. During this Exhibition it contains items about S.O.S. as well as other earlier artefacts of great interest to film fans, such as the Dambusters daybook and plans of Elstree Studios. When this Exhibition is over we will be changing the contents on a regular basis to show you his years of collecting.
In an exciting feature of our new Exhibition, Save Our Studios, you can dress up as your favourite Star Wars character and pretend you are in the film. Here we see an early visitor trying on her Princess Leia costume with Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2. The costume looks great I think you’ll agree our first model made a very good job of her starring role in the film! Come on down and try it out during half-term.