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British Hollywood Or Chav Central
Borehamwood in general
Member Name: funzo
Borehamwood in general
Date: 30/09/08, updated on 04/01/12 (1456 review reads)
Advantages: Good rail and road links, good shopping, Film and TV, Close to london, Surrounded by Fields
Disadvantages: Social and Housing Issues. Chavs a plenty
Now Borehamwood gets a bad press. The two available reviews on Dooyoo paint a very negative picture of my home town, so I thought a balanced review of Borehamwood might be in order.
For those who do not know, Borehamwood is a town of about 35000 people in south Hertfordshire. Some of Borehamwood is in the borough of Hertsmere whilst a small part is in the borough of Barnet. It sits inbetween St Albans, Watford, Barnet and Mill Hill and although once a small hamelt of the larger village of Elstree, Borehamwood experienced huge growth with the advent of the movie industry. Many huge studios inc MGM and EMI based themselves there from the 1920's onwards which meant huge expansion of the sleepy little hamlet. However, the real growth in the town happened after the war. Borehamwood essentially became an overspill for bombed out londoners. Many of the east end were offered new council houses, or flats. It was in 1953 that my mother and her parents moved from Whitechapel to new council houses overlooking farmland. This is where Borehamwoods problems started...not with my mother moving there I hasten to add. But before I go into the negative aspects of Borehamwood, I shall indulge you into some its finer points.
Right on the A1, 5 minutes from M25 and M1 it is certainly well provided by road. The northern line is only one bus away and there is a Thameslink mainline which provides frequent fast services to Kings Cross which is only 15 mins away.
Borehamwood has a high street, Shenley Road, but still called by all locals as The Village or The Vill. It has a small but popular shopping precinct (hark at me all American) called Boulevard 25. There's a Next, Boots, Argos, Miss Selfridge and others include a Wickes where a spotty 15 year old me worked part-time many moons ago. There's a market twice a week in the high street and a huge Tescos on the site of the EMI film studio. Basically shoppers are catered for and parking is not a problem.
Film and TV
Only Ealing can claim to a richer film history than Borehamwood. Although nearly all the studios in the area have been referred to Elstree Studios due to the Borehamwood being three streets and fields prior to the studios arriving, nearly all the studios past and present have been in Borehamwood. As kids we used to climb over the fences of the studios to watch the films being made. Once, we were caught by the film crew of Willow who very kindly let us sit with the crew watching Val Kilmer strut his stuff. Another fond memory I have is when I was six, my aunt worked at ATV studios (now BBC Elstree) , and arranged for me to visit The Muppet Show and meet Jim Henson in his workshop. I was later to return to the same studio to be an extra in the 1987 bonfire night edition of Eastenders. Yes...that's where you know me from. My tv career has admittedly stalled since then but theres still hope. In all seriousness there has been a wonderfully proud film heritage of Borehamwood and just a few of the many, many superb films made there include The Shining, Star Wars, Indianna Jones, 2001 Space Odyssey, Summer Holiday,Clockwork orange Superman...... and Digby biggest dog in the world (showing my age there. TV programmes include Eastenders, Grange Hill, Big Brother, The Avengers. Holby City,Who wants to be a millionaire and many many more.
Although most youths in the area prefer the happy times had stood loitering outside the off licenses, there is actually a bowling alley, cinema and some gym/leisure clubs.
A few years and a few pounds ago I played for the local team Borehamwood Youth. Some notable explayers are Paul Merson, Me and Tim Sherwood. Currently Borehamwood are doing well non league and are the home to Arsenal ladies fc.
Other than the above footballers Borehamwood has produced Jaye Davidson the actor who received an oscar nomination for his transsexual character in The Crying Game and Marilyn once a 1980's pop star and partner to Boy George, now a drug addled mess living back with his mum. Quite eclectic I think.
Now do not be fooled by the above into thinking that Borehamwood is some idyllic paradise. Despite the surrounding countryside and greenbelt, despite the rich film history and despite it gave the world Marilyn Borehamwood has problems.
The first and in my opinion the all consuming problem is the people. And I don't say that lightly as someone that's lived the majority of my life there. Borehamwood was and still is an overspill of the East End. There was a lot of poor ill-educated people repatriated to Borehamwood, some by choice others because they were bombed out. There has always been a poor white trash element to Borehamwood since its inception and I can say that as im from the same stock. What we have seen is the results of the next two generations of poor white trash evolve into the foul mouthed ferral Chav that we know and love. The council absurdly thought that the best thing for the town was to close as many schools as possible, sell the land to build more and more houses on but leave only one school open for the growing numbers. The below average results of this school are testimony to the madness of that logic.
Crime is a problem. Although I would say that there are no 'no go' areas in Borehamwood, there are certainly some rough places and pubs. The Bull and Tiger (now The Directors Arms) had a car park that could only have been second to Kaboul in arms trading. The now closed Harrys Kebab seemed to have a fight inside/outside every weekend, and crime figures are amongst the highest in Hertfordshire, with drug abuse being high (no pun intended) on the agenda. There are very few bars/pubs that I would drink in and I certainly wouldn't recommend any of you to visit. Education standards are low and other than the cinema/bowling alley there really isn't much for the youth to do. Playing fields sold off and built on, community centres closed and very few trouble free bars/pubs. And that exacerbates the social problem within Borehamwood.
I enjoyed growing up in Borehamwood..plenty of fields and woods to build camps in, a genuine and still present community feel, and close to london and rolling countryside. The closure of the film studios hurt Borehamwood economically and until recently it was a town in decline. With any downturn in the towns fortunes brings problems and Borehamwood was not alone in this. Recently there has been a housing boom there and efforts have been made to improve the standard of housing there. A lot of immigrants have been placed in the dated and decaying houses and flats which has changed the already waning community spirit. Like any town it has good and bad bits. The boom in housing and its ideal commuter location has brought in some wealth to the town again and it is no longer the single mum capital of Hertfordshire (thanks Hemel Hempstead for that) I have a sort of pride in my home town,maybe more a nostalgia, as I like to remember the good things of childhood - all the kids of the street playing football till dark, knowing everyone, making camps in the fields now luxury two bed apartments, spotting your road in the On The Buses films...... but, after all is said and done..... I wouldn't live there again.
Thanks for reading.
Summary: An ode to my home town
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