The House of Hammer

Hammer Production used Bray Studios to film many of their films, including Horror of Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein.

“We were a real team at Bay, and you can really see it in Dracula,” said camera operator Len Harris. “Every aspect of the picture is first class. It has no weak spots.”

The country house was originally called Down Place, and Hammer rented the space before eventually purchasing the property. Part of the real estate deal allowed the original owners to remain in the west wing, and later, Hammer even rented space to other production companies, especially to assist when financial struggles arose.

Bray, however, was not the first country home Hammer used. Dial Close was their first, and it had a butler, maid, and many complaints from neighbors about the noise. Afterward, Hammer used Oakley Court (used as exteriors for Frankenstein and Dracula films, and as the home in The Old, Dark House) and Gilston Park, before permanently moving to Bray.

“There was a family feeling about it, and a feeling of pride as well; everyone knew their craft and inspired others,” said Director Don Sharp.

Hammer was an expert at reusing sets and spaces, and the 35 acres in the back were used for Dracula and Frankenstein.

“It was like being in a closet—not like a film studio at all,” said music director Philip Martell.

Later, Hammer moved its production to Elstree, making Dracula Prince of Darkness and The Plague of Zombies, some of the final films at Bray.

Bray was estimated to be worth 250,000 pounds but sold for only 65,000. In later years, Bray was used for many other films, such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show.