One of the earliest mentions of Bosci de Boreham (Wood of Boreham), is in 1188:
"In 1188 Pope Clement granted to the kitchen of the monastery the whole land of Elstree. He also gave to the Abbey the wood of Boreham for the feeding of the swine."
In 1776, the House of Lords granted:
"An Act for dividing and closing the Common or Waste Ground, called Boreham Wood Common, in the Parish of Elstree otherwise Idletree, in the Country of Hertford."
Up until 1909, the town was part of the ancient parish of Elstree; the two still share a local council, Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council.
From the 1920s onwards, the town became known as one of the main centres of the UK film, and later television, industries due to the presence of production studios.
Following World War II, the town's population greatly increased, with large areas of council housing set up for displaced Londoners, many of which are now in private ownership. Fast train connections to central London have resulted in the town becoming a primarily residential suburb. In 1946 the Admiralty started to build highly secret high-performance electronic digital computers at Borehamwood in a redundant wartime factory, firstly for the purpose of real time gunnery control and later for surface-to-air guided weapons, missiles and specialist cryptography and code-breaking computers for GCHQ.
Borehamwood is currently undergoing a substantial housing transformation which has seen hundreds of new homes built over the last five years. There are currently two further developments being built and more are expected.
In addition to the studios, the town is also home to many retail shops, offices and light industry.
On the west side of Borehamwood is a railway station, Elstree & Borehamwood railway station (TfL Zone 6) served by trains operated by Govia Thameslink Railway on the Thameslink route.
Metroline for London buses runs its number 107 service through the town from New Barnet onto to Edgware and back, whilst London Sovereign for London buses operates the number 292 bus service going into North West London. The Uno (bus company) run a bus service that stops at Borehamwood starting from Hatfield to Stanmore and back, as well as a bus service that goes to Watford. Intalink operate a bus service to other parts of Hertfordshire.
The A1 road passes just to the east of the town, and the M25 motorway passes about 2 miles (3.2 km) north of it.
Borehamwood experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the rest of the United Kingdom.
Since the 1920s, the town has been home to several film studios and many shots of its streets are included in final cuts of 20th century British films. This earned it the nickname of the "British Hollywood". Whilst most of these studios have now closed, two still remain.
Many well-known films including The Dam Busters (1955), Moby Dick (1956), Summer Holiday (1963), Dr Zhivago (1965)', 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and, The Shining (1980) starring Jack Nicholson, the first three Indiana Jones films and the first three Star Wars films were partially filmed at the former Associated British Studios in Shenley Road. These were partly demolished in the 1980s to make way for a Tesco Extra supermarket on one side and an office block complex on the other.
The area between the supermarket and the office blocks is all that remains of the original studio, which has been much reduced in size and usefulness to production companies as a result. Elstree Studios were more recently used for the popular TV series Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Big Brother, as well as several major feature films. The Inspector Morse TV series' production offices were based in the studios and, although the series was supposedly set in Oxford, several exterior locations (banks, shops etc.) were filmed in the streets of Borehamwood.
The former British National Studios off Clarendon Road referred to locally as "The Douglas Fairbanks studios" (which were bought by Lew Grade's ATV in 1962) are now the BBC Elstree Studios. The studios have, over the years, been home to Alfred Hitchcock's film Blackmail, Gerry Anderson's TV series UFO, Jim Henson's TV series The Muppet Show was also produced there, and now BBC's popular soap, EastEnders and their medical drama Holby City. An episode of Judge John Deed included scenes of the Tesco Extra, but with Borehamwood crossed out and Lewes written in its place.
Several other studios including The Gate Studio and the Danziger Studios at nearby Elstree have been demolished. The MGM-British Studios complex (demolished in the early 1970s) saw the production of many well-known films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), as well as many ITV television series including The Prisoner (1967–68).
The newer Millennium Studios is situated on Elstree Way, Borehamwood.
Adecco UK Limited had its Head Office based in Borehamwood until 2009, when it relocated to London, Birmingham and Budapest. Adecco House is now occupied by the Elstree University Technical College.
The UK headquarters of Pizza Hut Restaurants are based within the town, the head office of the Delivery portion having moved to nearby St Albans in 2015; and, until 2003, so were the headquarters of the United Kingdom subsidiary of T-Mobile, with both being based in the office blocks standing on part of what used to be the old Elstree Studios. Regent Inns has its head office on Elstree Way. NatWest, George Wimpey and Barclays also have large offices within the town.Frank Alexander Adams (1907–1998), public servant, lived in Borehamwood.
Simon Cowell, brought up in Elstree by his parents, Eric and Julie Cowell. Left School at 16.
Richard Butler, Town Mayor 2015/2016, Leader of the Opposition on Hertsmere Borough Council as of 2015.
Jaye Davidson, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film The Crying Game, grew up here and went to Hillside Comprehensive School (now Yavneh College).
Ray Davies, actor, director, producer, guitarist, primary vocalist and songwriter for The Kinks, lived in Borehamwood during the late 1960's.
Den Dover (b. 1938), Member of the European Parliament, lives in Borehamwood.
Prof. Angus Charles Graham (1919–1991), Professor of Classical Chinese, London University, 1971–84, lived in Borehamwood.
James Hay Stevens (1913–1973) FRAeS. Aviation journalist, editor Aircraft Engineering (1945–1957), illustrator and pilot lived in Borehamwood. He is known for developing the 1:72nd scale model used by Airfix and many other toy manufacturers.
Sir Robert Holland (c.1283–1328), nobleman, was murdered in Borehamwood on 15 Oct 1328.
Donald Victor House (1900–1992), Member, Restrictive Practices Court, and president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (1954–55). lived in Borehamwood.
Marilyn, early 80s New Romantic singer went to St Teresa's Catholic School
Shona McGarty, plays Whitney Dean in EastEnders.
Tim Sherwood, former footballer and manager.
Sir William Edmund Skyes (1884–1961), businessman, lived in Borehamwood.
John Frederick Tayler (1802–1889), watercolour painter, and President of the then-called Old Society, was born on 30 April 1802 at Borehamwood.
Stephen Marshall, murderer of Jeffrey Howe, lived here.
Gino D'Acampo celebrity chef lives in Elstree.
The first third of the Watling Chase Timberland Trail stretches from Elstree & Borehamwood railway station up to Shenley. South of the town is a large area of grassland and trees called Woodcock Hill Village Green.
Borehamwood is home to Boreham Wood F.C., Arsenal Ladies and Watford F.C. Reserves who play their home games at Meadow Park. There are several parks in the area. Aberford Park is featured with the source of the brook which has been artificially been made to look like a lake. Meadow Park includes a large playing field, tennis courts and basketball courts.
Borehamwood has a large shopping area called Borehamwood Shopping Park, featuring large stores such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer Simply Food, Next, Outfit - which includes Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Miss Selfridge, WH Smith, Boots, and more recently JD Sports, which takes place of JJB Sports And Now Poundland,Lidl,Metro Bank, Pets at home, Clarks as well
The hamlet of Well End has a notable pub, the Mops and Brooms, reputedly the site of a battle between travellers and village folk. Adjacent to the pub is a much older building: Nelson Cottage (c.1600) is now a private residence but was the original Mops and Brooms alehouse. It was renamed the Lord Nelson c.1840–50 and traded under that name until its closure in 1932 and replacement by the current pub, which eventually reverted to the older name.
There are two privately owned publications that serve the area, the Borehamwood Times and Tried and Trusted published quarterly as a community magazine serving Borehamwood, Elstree Radlett Shenley South Mimms and adjacent area. All Profit made by this publication is donated to local charities. The Town Crier is the mouth piece of Borehamwood Town council.
Borehamwood has a number of primary schools, including Cowley Hill Primary School and Parkside School, which were described by Nikolaus Pevsner as typical of the exemplary post-war work of the Hertfordshire County Architect's Department. Secondary schools include Hertswood Academy, Elstree University Technical College and Yavneh College. Independent schools include Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' and Girls' schools.
The TV series Grange Hill was filmed at Hillside School in Borehamwood from 1985 to 1990.Arkley