Senate House: the ultimate location for filming in London

When you think of central London, you’ll no doubt imagine bustling streets, red double-decker buses and vibrant shops and cafes. But take a walk through leafy Bloomsbury towards Senate House and you might be surprised to find the bright lights of a seasoned Hollywood-grade film set.   

Now owned by the University of London and an iconic event venue, Senate House has served as the setting for numerous Hollywood productions and TV shows over the years. It has proven itself to be a versatile and unique setting for many filmmakers, and you can explore some of the iconic scenes that we have hosted below! 

 

 

Senate House: the ultimate location for filming in London

When you think of central London, you’ll no doubt imagine bustling streets, red double-decker buses and vibrant shops and cafes. But take a walk through leafy Bloomsbury towards Senate House and you might be surprised to find the bright lights of a seasoned Hollywood-grade film set.   

Now owned by the University of London and an iconic event venue, Senate House has served as the setting for numerous Hollywood productions and TV shows over the years. It has proven itself to be a versatile and unique setting for many filmmakers, and you can explore some of the iconic scenes that we have hosted below! 

 

 

Plotting scene locations

In the case of Senate House,  What3words was the perfect tool to plot and find locations on set during filming, with spaces being utilised both within the building and gardens. The 3 word address can capture a unique angle, spot or small location perhaps where natural light or backdrops come into play. Each of these can then be noted and tagged for later inspection.   

The "What3words address" on each picture is in fact linking to a reference code for the exact geographical location of the scene accurate to a 3 metre square. Every 3 metre square in the world has been given a unique combination of three random words: a what3words address. 

For many location scouts, this is easier to recall than the standard six figure grid reference which has previously been used in the filming industry to record new shoot locations. The address is also much more accurate than a street address because it can point to a specific entrance, whereas pins usually drop in the middle of a building, so it’s much easier to know exactly where to get dropped off for indoor shots too.

 

A set with beautiful interiors

The interior of the building is truly unique and combines a subtle blend of modernist and classical art deco features. This timeless blend of styles stems from architect Charles Holden’s fixation on all things simple, grand yet modern. This makes Senate House the perfect setting for scenes that require glitz and grandeur. In fact, the interior of Senate House has served as the backdrop of a number of Hollywood film productions. From the likes of Anne Hathaway dancing at a ball to Chris Pine enjoying an espionage-filled dinner reservation, Senate House has been host to a huge variety of film sets. The architectural style of the building is grand, lofty and tastefully adorned which means it sits at a crossroads of period style options. This makes the space versatile for a number of uses without having to go too overboard with excessive set transformations.

Senate House provides a versatile set of filming locations beyond the classic marble floors and high ceilings of the Chancellors Hall. For instance, the building’s meeting rooms serve as a space for an intense meeting or boardroom scene whilst the building's large boiler room makes for a rugged industrial environment. The space, scale and variation of Senate House’s interiors has no doubt been a draw for directors and location scouts.

Shoots with vegetation

Senate house also comes with a variety of outdoor spaces which are just as unique as the venue itself. Gordon and Woburn square are located just outside of the main Senate House building but offer a leafy environment for outdoor sets that is seldom found in central London! 

The gardens offer a cocoon of green serenity in the form of a lawn area surrounded by a perimeter of lush bushes and trees. The space is very calm and can be used in a variety of intimate natural shots. In winter when the vegetation is more sparse, a backdrop of Bloomsbury’s most stunning architecture can be seen which makes the perfect location for a Dickensian London scene.  

 

Making filming a light task

For all its finery and opulence, Senate House and other venues under the University of London are geared for the practical requirements of filming. When considering a suitable location to film, scouts have to consider the logistics of things like equipment loading, where to park trucks, how to extend cables, where to put toilets along with accommodation for the crew. Senate House is a logistician’s dream since it offers plenty of spacious on-site parking to facilitate loading heavy props, sound and lighting equipment.

If you are interested in the filming locations at University of London venues, you can call our bookings team on 020 7862 8127.

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