Tuesday 27 July 2021 2:52 pm

Converted: London Jehovah’s Witnesses HQ to start new life as film studio

The former headquarters of the UK Jehovah’s Witnesses in north London will be given a fresh start as a film and TV hub in a bid to tap into surging demand for studio space.

Flexible workspace firm Purpose has snapped up the 200,000 square feet site in Mill Hill and plans to transform it into one of the largest filming spaces in the capital.

London North Studios is already being used for a Sky production, and the new leaseholder said it had received further interest from a multi-million-pound production as well as streaming companies.

The unique venue formerly served as the main office of the UK branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an offshoot of Christianty known for door-to-door evangelism.

A separate building nearby housed the publishing and package factory for its publications, including The Watchtower — the most widely distributed magazine in the world. 

Prior to its sale by the religious group, around 1m magazines a day were being published on site.

The HQ also boasts a 300-person dining hall, commercial kitchen and 18 hair and costume rooms, as well as five acres of outdoor space, including a one-acre woodland.

Purpose has had previous experience building studio space, with workspaces in Bethnal Green, Borough, King’s Cross and Tottenham hosting video shoots for music stars including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Jorja Smith.

“We decided to launch London North Studios in response to the soaring demand for high-quality filming space close to central London – demand which is not currently being met,” said Purpose founder Dan Cohen.

“The new studios will also add new interest to this corner of the capital — creating cultural cachet and job opportunities.”

The redevelopment is the latest major film studio project in London as the streaming wars have sparked massive demand for studio space in the capital.

Investors are pumping £350m into Eastbrook Studios, a new film and TV hub set to open in Dagenham, while Sky is set to open a new 32-acre production hub in Elstree.

Further projects include a £250m development in Kent and the UK’s largest purpose-built studio complex near Reading.

London North Studios will add to the area’s existing cinematic pedigree after Mill Hill Barracks were used for filming both Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and An Education.