Aerial snaps of airfield before it became Warner Bros Studios

A view of the airfield showing the A41 dual carriageway (bottom left to middle left) with Ashfields road bridge. The roundabout junction exits are High Road and A405. The oval green area of Macdonnell Gardens can also be seen <i>(Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)</i>
A view of the airfield showing the A41 dual carriageway (bottom left to middle left) with Ashfields road bridge. The roundabout junction exits are High Road and A405. The oval green area of Macdonnell Gardens can also be seen (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

It is 30 years since the last aircraft took to the skies from this airfield in north Watford and the story of its transformation into a film studio began.

Once home to the manufacture of Mosquito fighters and Halifax bombers during the Second World War and then the production of Rolls-Royce aircraft engines, Leavesden Aerodrome was home to the Leavesden Flight Centre private flying club until March 1994.

Within months, the site was identified as being suitable to be used for the making of the next James Bond film Goldeneye, leading to the start of journey that would ultimately see it become Warner Bros Studios Leavesden.

Watford Observer: Looking along Leavesden High Road towards the A41
Watford Observer: Looking along Leavesden High Road towards the A41

Looking along Leavesden High Road towards the A41 (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

The summer before the airfield closed, these aerial images were taken by the Watford Observer which show how big the site was but also provide an insight into how the surrounding area looked 30 years ago.

Watford Observer: A view from above North Watford Playing Fields. Gammons Lane runs across the bottom of the image with the junction of Chilcott Road in the centre
Watford Observer: A view from above North Watford Playing Fields. Gammons Lane runs across the bottom of the image with the junction of Chilcott Road in the centre

A view from above North Watford Playing Fields. Gammons Lane runs across the bottom of the image with the junction of Chilcott Road in the centre (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Our thanks to Watford Museum’s volunteer archivist Christine Orchard for providing these images and caption details.

Watford Observer: This view shows almost all the airfield with taxi way leading from buildings (bottom right) onto the landing strip running at an angle to the left
Watford Observer: This view shows almost all the airfield with taxi way leading from buildings (bottom right) onto the landing strip running at an angle to the left

This view shows almost all the airfield with taxi way leading from buildings (bottom right) onto the landing strip running at an angle to the left (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Watford Observer: Leavesden Flight Centre sign promoting the flying school, aircraft sales, painting, rentals a restaurant and charter avionics engineering
Watford Observer: Leavesden Flight Centre sign promoting the flying school, aircraft sales, painting, rentals a restaurant and charter avionics engineering

Leavesden Flight Centre sign promoting the flying school, aircraft sales, painting, rentals a restaurant and charter avionics engineering (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Watford Observer: A man with a bag and cases walks towards five light aircraft
Watford Observer: A man with a bag and cases walks towards five light aircraft

A man with a bag and cases walks towards five light aircraft (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Watford Observer: A portion of the A41 dual carriage way is seen (bottom right) and leading away from the camera (middle right). The A405 leads off the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout
Watford Observer: A portion of the A41 dual carriage way is seen (bottom right) and leading away from the camera (middle right). The A405 leads off the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout

A portion of the A41 dual carriage way is seen (bottom right) and leading away from the camera (middle right). The A405 leads off the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Watford Observer: This view shows the main landing strip. It looks from above the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout towards Hunton Bridge
Watford Observer: This view shows the main landing strip. It looks from above the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout towards Hunton Bridge

This view shows the main landing strip. It looks from above the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout towards Hunton Bridge (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)

Watford Observer: This view shows the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout (bottom left) and looks towards Hunton Bridge. The green-grassed oval (bottom) is Macdonnell Gardens, leading off High Road
Watford Observer: This view shows the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout (bottom left) and looks towards Hunton Bridge. The green-grassed oval (bottom) is Macdonnell Gardens, leading off High Road

This view shows the high-level Leavesden Green roundabout (bottom left) and looks towards Hunton Bridge. The green-grassed oval (bottom) is Macdonnell Gardens, leading off High Road (Image: Watford Observer/Watford Museum)