DiCamillo Companion

Heatherden Hall

  • House & Family History: Heatherden Hall began life as a large Victorian villa. The circa 1865 house was greatly enlarged in the English Baroque style between 1914 and 1928 to the designs of Charles Melville Seth-Ward for the Canadian financier and Conservative MP Walter Grant Morden. Seth-Ward's work created a grand mansion with a huge ballroom, a Turkish bath, an indoor squash court, elaborate gardens, and a swimming pool – everything the successful early 20th century tycoon could want! Because of its seclusion, the house was used as a discreet venue for high-level government meetings; the Anglo-Irish Treaty was drawn-up at Heatherden in 1921. But success didn't last for Morden; he went bankrupt in 1931 and the Heatherden Estate was acquired by Charles Boot at Morden's death in 1934. Boot was the managing director of the very successful firm of Henry Boot & Sons, a Sheffield building company. In partnership with millionaire flour miller and film entrepreneur J. Arthur Rank, Boot developed the parkland to the north of the house as a complex of film studios, known as Pinewood (in Rank's words, "because of the number of trees which grow there and because it seemed to suggest something of the American film centre in its second syllable"). Rank and Boot intended nothing less than to create a rival, in sophistication and scale, of the Hollywood film studios. Between 1934 and 1936 the first studios were built for British National Films; so important was this venture that the studios were officially opened on September 30, 1936 by the parliamentary secretary to the Board of Trade. The home of the Rank Organisation and countless other film companies, Pinewood ultimately achieved the goal of its founders – today Pinewood Group Limited is the world's largest film studio. The first class library from the famous Cunard luxury liner "Mauritania," designed by Harold Peto in 1907, is today the Pinewood boardroom. There is also a chimneypiece of 1581 from Ilam Hall, Staffordshire, that was installed in Heatherden. The large administration building erected next to the house in the 1930s was later converted into a country club. Heatherden is possibly most famous today as the home of Truly Scrumptious in the 1968 film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens to the south and west of the house were laid out for Walter Grant Morden between 1914 and 1928. The house is still seen today as it was designed in the early 20th century: surrounded by specimen trees, serpentine paths, a cascade, the sunken garden, and a lake with an ornamental bridge.

  • Architect: Charles Frederick Reeks

    Date: Circa 1865
    Designed: House
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Harold Ainsworth Peto

    Date: Built for "Mauritania" 1907
    Designed: The First Class Library that Peto designed in 1907 for the Cunard liner "Mauritania" was re-installed at Heatherden as Pinewood Boardroom.

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    Architect: Charles Melville Seth-Ward

    Date: 1914-28
    Designed: Enlarged House for Walter Grant Morden

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  • Title: Midsomer Murders on Location
    Author: Schreiner, Sabine; Street, Joan
    Year Published: 2010
    Reference: pg. 38
    Publisher: Cambridge: Irregular Special Press
    ISBN: 1901091376
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth
    Year Published: 1994
    Reference: pg. 416
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710620
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade II

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "The Red Shoes" (1947). "Up in the World" (1956). "Carry on Nurse" (1959). "What a Whopper" (1961). "Twice Round the Daffodils" (1962 - aka "What a Carry On: Twice Round the Daffodils"). "A Stitch in Time (1963). "From Russia with Love" (1963 - as SPECTRE headquarters and Renaissance gardens). "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes" (1965 - as Lord Rawnsley's home). "Carry On… Up the Khyber" (1968 - aka "The British Position in India"). "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968 – as the home of Truly Scrumptious). "Carry on Again Doctor" (1969). "Carry on Camping" (1969 - aka "Let Sleeping Bags Lie"). "Doppelgänger" (1969 - aka "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun"). "The Amazing Mr. Blunden" (1972). "That's Your Funeral" (1972). "The Great Gatsby" (1974 - as Buchanan's home). "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" (1975). "Carry on England" (1976). "The First Great Train Robbery" (1979 - as Edgar Trent's gardens). "The Final Option" (1982 – TV series [aka "Who Dares Wins"] - as the American ambassador's residence). "Robert Ludlum's The Apocalypse Watch" (1997 - TV). "What's a Carry On?" (1998 - TV). "On Location: The Carry Ons" (2001 - TV). "An Evening with… Peter Rogers" (2005 - video). "Children of Men" (2006 - gardens). "Midsomer Murders" (2006 - TV series, as the offices of Midsomer District Council in the episode "Country Matters"). "Midsomer Murders" (2007 - TV series, episode 10.4, "The Axeman Cometh," as Priory Hall).
  • Past Seat / Home of: Walter Grant Morden, early 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Corporation

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Mixed Use

    Ownership Details: Heatherden is owned by Pinewood Studios and used as offices and for film location filming. It is also available for weddings.

  • House Open to Public: By Appointment

    Phone: 01753-651-126

    Fax: 01753-651-113

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://pinewoodgroup.com/

    Historic Houses Member: No