On the edge of Ruislip Woods sits Ruislip Lido’s 60-acre lake, an open stretch of water and final resting place of the HMS Titanic…
Of course, the real Titanic is approximately 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, in the North Atlantic Ocean. However, a replica boat met its doom on screen in the 1978 film A Night to Remember.
The production team used blueprints of the Titanic to accurately create the sets, while Titanic fourth officer Joseph Boxhall and ex-Cunard Commodore Harry Grattidge both worked as technical advisers on the film.
As there was no tank large enough at Pinewood Studios to film the 20 or so survivors struggling to climb into lifeboats, the sequence was shot in the lake at Ruislip Lido.
In actor Kenneth More CBE’s 1998 autobiography, More, Please!, he recalls the filming taking place at 2am one November morning.
With the extras uncertain about jumping into the icy depths, he realised he would have to take the lead, and called out: “Come on!”.
He wrote: “I leaped. Never have I experienced such cold in all my life. It was like jumping into a deep freeze. The shock forced the breath out of my body. My heart seemed to stop beating. I felt crushed, unable to think. I had rigor mortis, without the mortis. And then I surfaced, spat out the dirty water and, gasping for breath, found my voice.
“‘Stop!’ I shouted. ‘Don’t listen to me! It’s bloody awful! Stay where you are!’
“But it was too late…”
Director Roy Ward Baker said in a documentary about the making of the film: “I was very lucky; we got some very cool weather because it was essential to show the breath of people in the air. Nature was on my side.”
Other films shot at the lido include the beach scenes in Confessions from a Holiday Camp, and the waterskiing scenes from The Knack… and How to Get It.
If you want to carry out any commercial filming at the lido, please contact the local government film office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: ITV / Shutterstock