RAF Leavesden was built in 1940 shortly after the outbreak of World War II. It was one of a large number of new airfields built across the south east of the country. Between 1939 and 1945 the number of airfields nationally more than quadrupled.
As well as a 1,000 yard runway and hangers there were also two large aircraft manufacturing factories built on site. Managed by de Havilland, who needed additional capacity that their Hatfield factory could not provide. By the time the factories closed in 1950 700 Halifax bombers and 1,476 Mosquitoes had been built at the site with the first Mosquito rolling off the assembly line in May 1942. The last flying Mosquito which had been built at Leavesden crashed in 1996.
Because of the airfield’s wartime heritage there remain two air raid shelters on site. These are grass covered and will not be visible to the casual observer and are to be demolished as part of future development works.
After the war the land was sold to Rolls-Royce who operated an aircraft engine factory on the site until its closure in 1994.
Leavesden Studios was created when EON Productions were unable to book space at Pinewood Studios to shoot the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. Although the large hangers and runway remain inside the current studio boundaries much of the airfield’s land has now been developed into a business park and housing.