AP mast (2K)

BBC TELEVISION from ALEXANDRA PALACE

by Arthur Dungate

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Lime Grove demolition

The end of an era

  9: A New Lime Grove

 

During the demolition period, the Notting Hill Housing Trust had erected an information board stating: "Redevelopment of Limegrove Studios to create 52 Houses and Flats for Social Housing".

So when the site had been cleared, building these new dwellings began.

developer information board (9K) 

  Lime Grove in 1996 (10K)

The new dwellings on the site of the Lime Grove Studios. The older house just visible at the extreme right is the same one which existed even before the original 1915 "Glass House" studio was built.

[photo: Arthur Dungate]

 

 

A back street in the new housing development on the ex-film/tv studios site. The large bare wall in the distance just left of centre, is the former end wall of North Block.

another view of housing on BBC site (10K) 

  The white painted butresses were the interior of plant room (East Block) (10K)

The white painted butresses on the right were once the interior of the plant room in East Block. This is a 1994 picture.

 

 

By the summer of 2002 the scene had mellowed.

 [digital picture: Arthur Dungate]

the walls of the former plant room in 2002 (13K) 

  House formerly attached to the North Block, boarded up and awaiting Phase 2 development - demolition of Sangers Block (13K)

The house formerly attached to North Block, boarded up in 1994 and awaiting Phase 2 of the re-development - the demolition of Sangers Block.

 

 

The house (formerly one of the BBC offices) now reconditioned in 2002. These houses fetched premium prices due to their previous association with BBC Television!

The house (formerly one of the BBC  offices) now reconditioned in 2002 (16K) 

  No Parking sign (12K)

The old No Parking sign is still attached to the brick pillar to this day.

 

 

At the rear of the houses Sangers Block has now gone, being replaced by this housing development.

rear view of new Sangers Block development (13K) 

  rear of the Sangers Block area, where the canteen once stood (13K)

The rear of the Sangers Block area, where the canteen once stood.

 

 

Rear view of the houses once used as BBC offices. Hardly any of the new residents were domiciled in this country during the television years so have no knowledge of the area's history....

[above five digital pictures:
Arthur Dungate]

Rear view of the houses once used as BBC offices (13K) 

  street name plate: Gainsborough Court (11K)

The era when the site was formerly that of a famous film studio is remembered only in the names of the new side streets.

 

 

Sadly, however, these new street names don't recall the BBC days. Over 40 years of British television history was seemingly forgotten by the developers.

street name plate: Gaumont Terrace (10K) 

 

A few artifacts still exist!

Before they were to be destroyed for ever by the demolition ball Nigel Finnis managed to save a few signs from walls and doors.

 

  film cans for disposal (11K)
It received the streaks of blue paint from above when the tower was last painted.

Originally this sign was fixed to the wall under the water tower.

water tower (4K)
 

 

"Blue Peter", a long-running children's tv programme, always had a dog as part of the programme. Seeing this, staff then began a practice of bringing their own dogs to work, and so to discourage the habit this sign appeared outside Studio G.

Studio G's dog sign (13K) 

  to South Block 4th floor (6K)

This was in the dock area outside Studio E above the door access to the corridor (with windows onto Lime Grove) leading to the South Block staircase.

 

 

The large production office (Room 35) adjacent to the canteen on 1st floor level. Used by Kilroy, That's Life etc.

to Sangers (9K) 

  dressing rooms (6K)

This was by the North Block lift at Ground Floor level.

 

 

There were double swing doors leading to a number of dressing rooms and indeed a surgery where a BBC nurse resided, to attend to minor casualties and people feeling faint under the lights maybe! To add to the effect there was always a smell of hospitals at this point!!

 

  TK Control This Way (7K)

This was hanging in the Presentation Block 1st floor and was hand made probably by one of the engineers fed up with producers from Nationwide constantly taking a wrong turn in the maze of corridors!

 

 

Many memories exist of Lime Grove studios. Jocelyn Lukins ends her excellent book The Fantasy Factory with:

In 1987 an over-enthusiastic BBC producer described the building as "a dark and dismal tenement, a grimey rat-infested warren".

But most people only have warm memories of Lime Grove.

Cliff Michelmore said: "All buildings are made by the people inside them and at its height Lime Grove was full of the most extraordinary people you could ever hope to meet".

Humphrey Burton said: "We were lucky. Everyone who worked there in that period agrees that it was a truly golden age. It will never be the same again as it was at Lime Grove. They were the happiest days of my life".

 

  way out (K)  

[colour photos, unless otherwise credited : Nigel Finnis]

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