Film Heritage

The Film Heritage Strand of the Heritage Hub is launching in 2024.

It is led by Dr Sam George and Dr Steven Adams

film heritage logo

What is Film and Screen heritage at the UH Heritage Hub?

Our new Film Heritage Strand will contribute to the promotion of Hertfordshire as a site for film industry and heritage and promote our expertise in film and TV to the region’s world-leading hub of film and TV studios.

It will build on the connections made by the Heritage Hub through the Herts, Camera Action! project funded by the Government Community Renewal fund, and delivered in partnership with Visit Herts, and the Hertfordshire Growth Hub.

The working lives of those who were involved in the industry, its buildings, and not least the archive of Film and TV programmes makes the region, its people and culture, a rich source of heritage.

film heritage event sam george talking

From Hollywood to Hertfordshire

The Film and TV industry around Hertfordshire has been an important part of the region’s history for over a century.

The Hammer Horror classics and the first three Star Wars and Indiana Jones films were all filmed at Elstree Studios, founded in 1925.

‘The Making of Harry Potter’ is a walk-through exhibition and studio tour in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, owned by Warner Bros.

Hertfordshire is still home to a growing Film and TV sector; it has attracted over £3.7 billion of new private sector investment in the past 12 months. In Hertfordshire location filming is worth £20 million to the local economy annually.

We might think of this as ‘Hollywood in Hertfordshire'.

Next Steps …​

  • Scaling up our world leading research in the history and production of film, and media to become a centre for film heritage …  ​
  • Capitalizing on government investment in the region to explore new ways of working with our community to understand and appreciate the region’s history​
  • Training the next generation of museums and heritage professional through our Doctorate in Heritage programme
Film heritage event 11 May 2023 screen

The Elstree Project

The new Film Heritage Strand draws on a long established project by Howard Berry on the oral histories of the studios at Elstree.

Principal Lecturer Howard Berry and students from the University of Hertfordshire's School of Creative Arts have been working since 2009 to record oral history interviews, stage events and make new documentaries.

The Elstree Project covers:

  • History of British TV from the 1960​
  • Stanley Kubrick’s Shining ​
  • Behind the Scenes operatives at Elstree ​
  • Archived interviews with 65 Elstree veterans from Steven Spielberg to Barbara Windsor

The project website has more information and links to videos and interviews. Visit the Elstree Project website (

The Elstree Project is dedicated to preserving the memories of men and women behind film and television productions in Elstree and Borehamwood’s major film and television studios.

The memories of local film and TV veterans form a key part of our unique film and television heritage.  They are the authentic voice of the story of how film and television has grown and prospered in Elstree and Borehamwood since 1914.

Initially, until 2016 we worked with Elstree Screen Heritage, a group of local volunteers, but we are now continuing this work with the aim to record, preserve, and share the testimonies of our contributors.

The Elstree Project has been endorsed by the Oral History Project of media industry union BECTU; and we have had support and endorsement from major industry names including the BFI, the BBC, ITV, StudioCanal, Pathé, and Network Releasing.

Howard Berry and graduates at the film heritage event

IAA funded project on prisons and film

Deirdre O'Neill, senior lecturer in film, School of Creative Arts, has received  funding from the IAA Knowledge Exchange Placement Scheme funding to go into two prisons and make films with serving prisoners.

In 2023, Dr O'Neill made a film about the education department with young offenders at HMP Isis and in HMP Downview working with a group of women prisoners making two films.  Access to the means of audio-visual film production provides an alternative educational model for those often alienated by existing educational institutions and creates the space to develop informed critical engagement with the media, politics and culture for those prisoners taking part.

This project has built on Dr O'Neill's previous work with Inside Film (in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Rochester and with those on probation ) .

The HMP Wandsworth films have been digitised and stored in The BFI National Archive which sets out to preserve British filmmaking history with highly educational and cultural value