THE THATCHED BARN HOTEL
The hotel originally known as the ‘Thatched Barn’ was commissioned in 1927 by a Mrs Merrick. By 1934 it was a thriving roadhouse and leisure facility.
Conveniently located for travellers on their way to and from London, its close proximity to the studios in Borehamwood meant that it was always a popular destination for film stars throughout the 1930’s. With an elaborate dining hall and heated outdoor swimming pool, it was considered the height of luxury for the glamorous stars that graced it during this period.
The hotel was bought by Billy Butlin, founder of the famous holiday camps, in 1939 but before he could develop the complex the Second World War broke out and the building was requisitioned by the secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE) whose exploits and inventions during wartime have become legendary. By the end of the war the building had fallen into disrepair, the owner went bankrupt and in 1961 the hotel was put up for sale.
The Tolani Brothers purchased the building and invested a lot of money in the building to expand its capacity as a hotel. The original building only had 7 bedrooms. This was quickly increased by the construction of more modern hotel rooms at the rear.
In November 2005 the hotel was re-branded as a Holiday Inn and became the Holiday Inn London-Elstree. Stars (and wannabes) and production crews filming at the now much smaller studios still frequently use the hotel as a base and it has also been used as a location for filming and photo shoots, most recently for an episode of Lewis (Wild Justice), many episodes of EastEnders, Holby City television advertising and Page Eight starring Billy Nighy.