Longcross Manor – Call the midwife set – Longcross Studios Surrey – July 2018

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Aug 3, 2014
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The History

The Manor House, originally named Barrow Hills, is located within the Test Track area of the Longcross studios site and provides an impressive facility for period locations.

The central staircase is stunning and incorporates a dogleg stair with Jacobean style balusters.

The house was originally built in 1853 and after purchase by the Ministry of Supply in 1952 it was used as an Officers Mess. In 2004 it was purchased by a consortium headed by Crest Nicholson PLC.

It has since been used for a number of well-known film and TV dramas. The most well-known and recent being Call the Midwife.

If you are not familiar with Call the Midwife it is a BBC period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It stars a variety of actors namely Miranda Hart, Helen George, Bryony Hannah, Laura Main, Jenny Agutter and Pam Ferris.

The series is produced by Neal Street Productions, a production company founded and owned by the film director and producer Sam Mendes, Call the Midwife executive producer Pippa Harris, and Caro Newling.

The first series, set in 1957, premiered in the UK on 15 January 2012.

The series was created by Heidi Thomas, originally based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth who worked with the Community of St. John the Divine, an Anglican religious order, at their convent in the East End in London. The order was founded as a nursing order in 1849. The show has extended beyond the memoirs to include new, historically sourced material. For the most part it depicts the day-to-day lives of the midwives and those in their local neighbourhood of Poplar, with certain historical events of the era having a direct or indirect effect on the characters and storylines.

Such events include: the continuing effects of the post-World War II baby boom, post-war immigration and the 1948 founding of the National Health Service in the first series and beyond; the introduction of gas and air as a form of pain relief and unexploded ordnance in the second series; the Child Migrants Programme and the threat of nuclear warfare (including emergency response guidelines issued by local Civil Defence Corps) in the fourth series; and the effects of thalidomide as well as the introduction of the contraceptive pill in the fifth series.

Call the Midwife achieved very high ratings in its first series, making it the most successful new drama series on BBC One since 2001. Since then five more series of eight episodes each have aired year-on-year, along with an annual Christmas special broadcast every Christmas Day since 2012. It is also broadcast in the United States on the PBS network, with the first series starting on September 30, 2012.

In December 2015, the Director-General of the BBC Tony Hall announced the show had been commissioned for a 2016 Christmas special and a sixth series of another eight episodes to be broadcast in early 2017, taking the characters and plot into 1962. In November 2016, Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, announced that the drama had been commissioned for a further three series of eight episodes and three more Christmas specials – taking the total number of series up to nine and the story into 1965.

Critical reception for the show (in both the UK and the US) has been mostly positive, and the series has won numerous awards and nominations since its original broadcast. The show has also been praised for tackling a variety of topical subjects and contemporary social, cultural and economic issues, including local community, miscarriage and stillbirths, abortion and unwanted pregnancies, birth defects, poverty, illness and disease epidemics, prostitution, incest, religion and faith, racism and prejudice, alcoholism, disability, (then-illegal) homosexuality between men, lesbianism, female genital mutilation, and maternal, paternal and romantic love.

The 7th series has just been aired and as I was soon to find out it appears filming has started for the 8th……

The Explore

I wasn’t actually in Surrey with this in mind I was checking out something else and ended up doing a drive by on Silverlands and St Peters. Silverlands now hidden by huge plywood fences and St Peters just fucked beyond recognition.

I headed towards Longcross wondering what was being filmed there, After all a few years back “we” had found the millennium falcon there and more recently Aladdin was filmed there.

I figured I had shit out on my other target so why not have a look.

Secretly hoping to stumble across more Star Wars stuff I made my way into the site. Having been here a few times it was the same familiar route in through the brambles, it was then I knew shorts were a stupid idea”.

I made my way towards were the Falcon had been only to stumble on a load of lorry’s and people still moving stuff about, well that buggered that idea up.

Then I remembered Call the midwife was here, something I had missed before in my rush to see the Falcon. I checked Google maps and made my way through the woods and towards the manor house.

I arrived at the manor still in the last snippets of daylight only to hear loud voices and shouting. As I listened intensely I head cries of “Quiet on set “

Fuck it, they were still filming

So I snuggled down in some bushes took a few pics from the back and dicked around on my phone until whoever was
filming around the front had gone.

After what seemed like a lifetime all was quiet and I made my way around the set checking out the various shops and cars and finally making my way into the house.

Now I am by no means a Call the Midwife fan but I have been known to watch the occasional episode so I am familiar with some of the characters and storylines and even recognised some of the rooms.

I was lucky on the security front it seems, the lone guard driving around the site drove into the courtyard and the front and out again just as quickly. This I decided was my cue to leave and made my way off site as stealthily as I had made my way in. Although my legs now look like I’ve lost a fight with a pack of wild cats.

As for what else I was in Surrey for, all in good time ……..

Enjoy the pics































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