Oakley Court Castle
Wasn't that a Castle we passed ... ?
| History | Guided Tour | 30 years later |
Located by the river Thames, near the Royal Castle of Winsdor in Berkshire, noone really knows much about Oakley Court story, except from the fact that it was built some 150 years ago in a place then called Water Oakley, a name which first appeared on the maps around the year 1800.
Oakley Court was built in 1859 by Sir Richard Hall Say and the legend has it that it was built in the style of French castles so that his young French wife wouldn't feel too out of place.
After having been owned by several people, the castle and its 30 hectares were bought in 1919 by M. Ernest Olivier, for £27,000. It is believed that the castle was used as headquarters for French resistance during the Second World War and that General Charles de Gaulle slept in one of the rooms.
In 1955, Bray Studios settled in Down Place, next to Oakley Court. When M. Olivier died in 1965, the castle was abandoned, and so it was used for 14 years as a natural setting for a number of movies from the Bray Studios. More than 200 movies were shot in the castle for example: The House In Nightmare Park, The Old Dark House (featuring Jeanette Scott!!), The Reptile and Dracula. When the Dracula movies were shot in Oakley Court, the directors created the gloomy atmosphere by lightening all the scenes inside the castle with candles.
At the time of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oakley Court was a derelict mansion. The production team had to work avoiding the buckets filled with rain that went through the holes in the roof and they had to walk very carefully on the old worm-eaten floors.Reportedly, several actors caught a cold while filming.
Interestingly enough, there's one unlikely element which is the way Brad and Janet walk to the castle. They walk through by the main gate, come from the back of the mansion where Riff Raff looks through the window, and then they find themselves in front of the front door!
Oakley Court was turned into a 4-star hotel by 1979, two wings were built, mainly to have more rooms, but 8 suites were renovated inside the castle. Furniture and decorations inside the castle were restored to make them as beautiful as they were. On September 7th 1981, after years of renovation and a total cost of £5 millions, the Oakley Court Hotel opened. Later, in 1997, a third wing was built.
Several places used in the movie still exist and in particular the original staircase, however the elevator was removed. The griffins (also called gargoyles) still stand on each side of the main entrance, but now there are much more of them in cement which have been put everywhere, probably during the shooting of the Hammer movies.
For your information, if you plan to stay in Oakley Court, it will cost £170 for a single room, £195 for a double room and £255 for a suite (prices do not include breakfast). You can also rent the castle for weddings, seminars and RHPS conventions…
Brad and Janet's wedding?? A wedding evening in Oakley Janet's room ? without the bowl...