Senate House: your Central London filming location and unit base
When it comes to finding a unique and adaptable filming location in central London, Bloomsbury’s Senate House stands tall as a historic gem. With its grand art deco architecture, rich heritage, and versatile spaces, this iconic building has become a popular choice for filmmakers seeking an extraordinary backdrop for their productions.
Of course, filming in central London comes with a host of practical considerations – not least finding a conveniently located unit base. Fortunately, Senate House delivers on this front too. Here, we delve into the facilities on offer and what you need to consider when planning your production with us.
Over the years, Senate House has hosted a diverse array of film and television productions. Its towering exterior, sweeping marble foyer and range of stately, adaptable rooms can capture the essence of various periods and genres. It served as Gotham City's police station in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012) and as the totalitarian government's headquarters in ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005), and its imposing exterior has also featured in the Harry Potter films as the Ministry of Magic.
Beyond its appearances in Hollywood films, Senate House has also been a favoured location for British television series. The iconic building has graced the small screen in dramas like ‘Sherlock’, ‘The Crown’, ‘The Bodyguard’, and more recently, Amazon’s ‘The Power’.
We also offer several outdoor locations: the University of London owns four garden squares close to Senate House which can be used for filming. The gardens vary in size and design, giving you a range of options all within Bloomsbury.
On-site unit base
When filming at Senate House, you can set up your unit base directly onsite, saving you valuable production time. Its close proximity to many other iconic London sites, such as the British Museum and Russell Square, means it can also be used as a unit base for other filming locations in Bloomsbury.
The building’s two car parks include designated areas which can accommodate production vehicles, with access to electricity. Additionally, the coach bays around the site’s perimeter can all be booked via Camden Council.
Crowd holding and office space
Alongside its outdoor amenities, Senate House offers plenty of indoor rooms for crowd holding and support activities. It can accommodate cast between takes, as well as providing space for wardrobe and makeup departments, equipment storage and dining areas – streamlining operations and fostering a collaborative working environment.
While many productions bring mobile production offices with them, Senate House and the adjacent Stewart House also have a number of spacious meeting rooms which can accommodate these functions – especially useful for long productions that require a permanent base.
Senate House is home to the University of London and hosts many events throughout the year alongside its academic activities. This means communal spaces and car parks must be kept free during the week in term time. Our unit base spaces can be booked on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from September to December and mid-January to July each year.
However, you'll have greater flexibility if you can film during summer. Out of term time, from July to September, we have freedom to operate across the whole site and can accommodate large productions over multiple days. Our garden squares can also be booked for filming year-round.
Fencing and security
Of course, with the site being a working University, there are other practical considerations to take into account. We’re keen to ensure that both your production and the University’s day-to-day activities can continue smoothly and securely.
We therefore require unit bases to be fully enclosed in scrimmed heras fencing, with all cables, generators and other equipment contained within this area. The production must also arrange for security staff to manage access to the enclosure.
We’d love to help you bring your production to life – get in touch with our team today to discuss your needs.