The 1860s and 1890s gave birth to the Wild West genre and laid the groundwork for its subsequent mythology. It was a time when cowboys, Indians, pioneers, outlaws, and gunslingers came together for expansion, defense, greed, and reinvention. But did you know that England has a fake American Wild West town?
In England, there is a fake American Wild West town called Laredo. This was built by reenactors and was exclusively open to members only.
The Town of Laredo
This facility is only 20 miles from the capital. All of the building’s interiors are fully furnished and period-appropriately decorated. All of the available props have been thoroughly researched and would have been used during the period.
The Town represents the American Wild West from 1865 to 1889. It has 24 buildings, including a two-story hotel with a reception area, full-size saloon bar, theatrical stage, and double staircases leading to six guest bedrooms.
A Saloon, Marshals Office, working Blacksmiths, Livery Stables, double-fronted General Store, Gunsmith, Wells Fargo, Wet-Plate Photography Studio, Assay Office, Bank, Doctor/Dentist, Saddlery, Undertaker, Texas Rangers, Mining Company, Barber, Bakers, Cantina, Tobacconist, Attorneys Office, and a Guest House are located along the street. Complete with boardwalks, hitching rails, horse troughs, and shop signage strung along an unmade old western-style street.
Inside the buildings, the decor is entirely period, with oil lamps and candles for lighting, wood-burning stoves for cooking and heating, and all the equipment that would have been used at the time.
A small mining community of nine log cabins exists in the Town. These are mostly guest accommodations with bunk beds, log-burning stoves, and trimmings. (Source: Laredo UK)
Is Laredo Still Open for Business?
A major fire recently destroyed Laredo’s six major buildings and nine smaller cabins. The Town is still open for business and is currently rebuilding. Location filming, promotion, and other activities can continue while the renovations are underway. Indeed, the town members have used this opportunity to rebuild so that the wooden reconstructions appear to be part of an American Old West Town development from the 1860s.
Laredo Western Club is a non-profit organization supported by membership and guest fees. Payments for film work are also an essential source of funding for the Town’s development and maintenance program. Laredo Western Town would struggle as a British film location without these advantages.
Many films have been made in Laredo, including Finding Neverland, Homes and Watson, Dark Country, and Blood Moon. For many years, the Town has been used by the television industry to produce shows such as French and Sounders, Red Dwarf, Mid Summer Murders, The One Show, and, most recently, Toast of Tinseltown. The Town is a popular location for music videos, with Elbow, Charley Fink, Rockabilly Bob, and Will and The People shooting Money this month. Advertising shoots have become increasingly popular in recent years. As part of our free education policy, we also host children’s charity events.
This is just one example of how Laredo has become a major and important British institution as a film location and an authentic western town for reenactors from all over the UK, Europe, and beyond.
When the devastating news of the fire broke, local village residents launched a nationwide appeal to help fund the reconstruction of Laredo. (Source: Laredo UK)