The Cinema and WGC during the war
Film Location Sites
By Roger Filler
The cinema in Welwyn Garden City during the war
During WW2, and immediately after, the Crown film unit and the Ministry of Information made wartime propaganda films in the area, using the film studios in Broadwater Road as a base.
Locations in the area and thought to include Murphy Radio’s canteen in “Millions Like Us” 1947, the army camp gates in “The Gentle Sex” 1949, are said to be the gates of the studios, and the parade ground in the film is thought to be the then Mill Green Camp, with the road march in the film being the lane between there and the now QE II Hospital.
Movie enthusiasts have also speculated that the water tank scene in the1937 Will Hay film “Oh Mr Porter” was partly shot either at WGC or Hertford North stations, with the final rail chase on the Hertford branch line.
Visible in the field on the outside of the bend are strange racks with panels on them. These are sheets of coloured plastic, experimentally weathering in the sun from the new ICI plant in the town. Anthony Chelsea from Welwyn Garden City, worked at Polycell and he remembers being told by an old colleague that when they took over the building they decided to re-concrete the main floor of the building and during excavation they found a complete ship buried. Up until the time they were made redundant (June 1999) all the camera gantries stayed in situ. There was a commemorative plaque on the wall leading to the reception area