POPULAR wisdom would suggest that there was only one film and television studio in the borough of Ealing. Popular wisdom is, on this occasion, incorrect. But it is easy to see why. Most people have no idea that at one time Southall Studios provided a busy and vibrant addition to Ealing's cultural history.
What is even more surprising is that production at the studios, based in Gladstone Road, spanned three decades, cranking out everything from silent movies to TV dramas and 1950s' science fiction and horror.
The ravages of time have not been kind to Southall Studios.
They were devastated by fire in 1936 and then rebuilt before fading into obscurity sometime in the late 1950s.
Nothing remains where it once stood, but that has not stopped two men from running a website which aims to keep the story of Southall Film Studios very much alive.
Bill Cooke, co-founder of southallfilmstudios.com, has spent the last seven years trawling the archives with his friend Terry Tkachuk.
In that time they have amassed an impressive collection of names, dates, pictures and facts.
Bill said: "It's very much a labour of love for the two of us.
"I got involved with it seven years ago after I retired as it's a fascinating story and we wanted to make people aware of it.
"We get emails all the time from people all over the world in places like Australia, Switzerland and even the United States, either sharing information or asking about it.
"It's great that so many people want to get involved and still have an interest in the place."
The story of Southall Studios starts in 1924, when an aircraft hangar was converted by film pioneer G B Samuelson.
Its first use in its new role appears to have been in 1928, when Two Little Drummer Boys, a silent movie starring Alma Taylor, was made there.
In the early thirties, the studios went through several name changes. In 1931, it was renamed Kingsway General Films Ltd.
In 1933, the name changed again to Britone Sound Studios and by the mid-1930s it was producing feature films again.
But disaster struck on October 29, 1936, when the studios burnt to the ground.
Rising phoenix-like from the ashes, they were rebuilt shortly afterwards with three sound stages.
There are no records to state if the site was active during the Second World War, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the studios, like so many others at the time, were used during the war effort.
Perhaps the Luftwaffe were aware of the studios' can-do attitude, as there is also information suggesting German planes took pot shots, though Bill and Terry also suggest that Gladstone Road would have been a prime target for enemy fire due to its proximity to the nearby engineering works and railway.
Whatever, the studio escaped intact and entered into a busy post-war period.
Producer Sydney Box and his outfit Alliance Film Studios acquired the site.
In 1952, television came to Southall Studios. This was a busy period for the site as it employed almost 100 permanent staff.
One of the higher profile TV shows produced during this time was Colonel March of The Yard, with three pilot episodes starring former Frankenstein icon Boris Karloff. These three episodes were featured in a 1953 compilation film.
The mid to late 1950s would see the studios' twilight. As the film and TV work gradually tailed off, the final project to be completed by Southall Studios was a sci-fi horror movie, The Trollenberg Terror.
First produced as a TV series in 1958, it was remade into a full-length feature film, also entitled The Trollenberg Terror, starring Forrest Tucker and Janet Munro.
The film would go on to achieve cult classic status, and both Terry and Bob reckon it was the one film produced by the studio that many people have seen.
From that point, the studio would gradually fade away.
Today any film buff paying a visit to the site will find only mobile office units on an industrial estate where the studios once stood.
No recorded trace of the studios exists after 1959 and it is believed they were demolished some time during the 1960s.
But thanks to Bill and Terry, and the website's loyal followers around the world, Southall Studios will never be forgotten.
For more information, visit the website www.southallfilmstudios.com. * Share your memories of the studios with us - email firstname.lastname@example.org