Cunard / Broadwest

The Cunard Film Company Limited moved into their purpose-built studio at 245 Wood Street in October 1914 (just down the road from the Precision studio). The studio's design owed much to the earlier Precision building. The fact that one of the directors was R F Gobbett (a founder of the Precision Studios) may have been the reasoning behind this. The studio had a 115 foot by 45 foot glass roofed daylight stage with extra lighting from 30 Westminster arc lamps. It also boasted having great sliding doors opening onto a concrete platform from which the cameramen could work. 

 

The new studio’s mission statement was: “to build a company that produces refined and high-class dramas.” However like Precision, Cunard soon folded, having completed only 8 feature-length films, after the death in 1915 of its producer Wallet Waller and The Broadwest Film Company took over the studio in January 1916.  Broadwest became one of the top studios in the country famous for their literary adaptations and current stage successes and was run by the charismatic Walter West. West, who had only started making movies in 1912,  was a master of PR constantly promoting the studio and it's stars  - notable future Hollywood stars such as Ronald Coleman and Anna Neagle got their start in film there and other players in what became Broadwest’s “stock company” included Gladys Cooper, Clive Brook, Violet Hopson (who married Walter West) and Stewart Rome. 

Always struggling for cash West was constantly launching fundraising share issues but it could only postpone the inevitable and Broadwest finally went into receivership in 1921 and although other smaller companies took possession of the building at various stages (British Filmcraft Ltd, Metropolitan Films Ltd, Audible Filmcraft Ltd) it never again saw the intensive production seen under Walter West's stewardship. The final remnants of the original building burnt down sometime in 1959 to be replaced by the current building.

 

THE LOCATION

 

245 Wood Steet

Walthamstow

E17 3NT