The Gaumont British Picture Corporation Limited

Book reveals fascinating history of a local movie company

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Nigel Ostrer, a resident of Chiswick for thirty years, has written and published a book about his family and the Gaumont British Picture Corporation.

Created and ran by Isidore Ostrer, The Gaumont British Picture Corporation Limited was the largest movie company in the UK in the 1930s, employing 16,000 people, including directors like Hitchcock, and stars like James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Robert Donat, Conrad Veidt, Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, John Mills, Claude Rains, Noel Coward, and hundreds more.

They owned many theatres, studios and cinemas including Acton's Globe Theatre, Putney Palace, Putney Hippodrome, and Wandsworth Palace and the long history of production at their studio in Lime Grove, Shepherd's Bush is largely the history of the British film industry.

"Part One of my book is a personal biography of the Ostrer family, and Part Two of my book is a history of the Gaumont British company covering the financial structure, boardroom disputes, stopping production for two-and-a-half years, and involvement with television," explains Nigel.

In his review of the book Malcolm Baird, son of John Logie Baird, says, "All too often family histories can be unreadable, but Nigel Ostrer’s book is a refreshing exception.

"He evokes the various personalities in a colloquial style, laced with hilarious anecdotes and the occasional expletive."

The book as well as a wealth of historic information and wonderful images are available at

April 26, 2010