Frances' eye-catching posters for The Heart Shopping Centre in Walton-on-Thames celebrate the history of film.

Frances Castle was commissioned to illustrate 12 very tall and thin banners to hang along a walkway at The Heart Shopping Centre in Walton-on-Thames showing films from the 1930's through to 2010's. Each movie banner had to be instantly recognisable and colourful and celebrate the history of the site's past.

Little do the shopping public realise that The Heart retail centre was once the site of a pioneering British film studio which released the first film adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and where eminent film figures such as Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis and Rock Hudson once filmed.

Originally called Hepworth Studios,  this film recording studio was making up to 100 films per year at the turn of the 20th Century, including short propaganda films for the First World War. The company declared bankruptcy in 1923 and all the original film negatives, a back catalogue of 2,000 films was destroyed by the receiver in order to sell the constituent silver and thus, 80% of British Films made between 1900 and 1929 were lost for ever along with a huge slice of British Film history! But that wasn't the end of the studios, the site was purchased and renamed Nettlefold Studios and started producing comedy silent films at first, until it was upgraded to sound production in the early 1930's going on to make "Quota Quickies" in Britain's attempt to boost the UK's Film Industry as Hollywood films started to dominate the cinema schedules.  During the Second World War the government requisitioned the studio's buildings to use as a storage facility for the war effort. It was eventually re-established as a production studio and renamed, The Walton Studios by an American company called Sapphire Films in 1955. They produced television series for ITV, starting with The Adventures of Robin Hood . Unfortunately, the studio ran into financial troubles due to competition from more TV studios and finally closed its doors in 1961, selling off its equipment to nearby Shepperton Studios. All that remains of the studio is the power generating house which is now the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse

Take a look at Frances Castle's online porfolio and sign up to our weekly newsletter to receive our news straight into your inbox.

Frances Castle - The Heart Film Banners
The Adventures of Robin Hood