Cinema Museum (London)
The Cinema Museum is a museum in Kennington, London, and a charitable organisation. Its collection was founded in 1986 by Ronald Grant and Martin Humphries, from their own private collection of cinema history and memorabilia. Its current building was once a workhouse where Charlie Chaplin lived as a child.
First established in 1986 in Raleigh Hall in Brixton, the museum later moved to Kennington; since 1998, it has been based at 2 Dugard Way in the London Borough of Lambeth, the administration block of the former Lambeth Workhouse, in a building owned by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
The workhouse has a link to cinema history as Charlie Chaplin lived there as a child when his mother faced destitution. The museum runs a programme of talks and events and is currently open by appointment for tours.
Having survived a threat to its existence owing to the proposed sale of the building, as of 2011[update] the museum was engaged in efforts to secure its future with public funding. The museum has been the subject of a documentary by The Guardian, and a 2008 documentary by the Canadian film artist Mark Lewis.
The museum's collection includes items relating to film production, film exhibition and the experience of cinema-going from the earliest days of cinema to the present. It holds examples of every gauge of film projector, professional and amateur, ever manufactured.
The museum holds a collection of early films by Mitchell and Kenyon, the Blackburn film production company, dating from 1899 to 1906. These films were featured at the Pordenone Cinema Muto (silent film festival) in 1997.
According to Time Out, "The Cinema Museum in Lambeth boasts an idiosyncratic collection of film memorabilia, including posters, art deco cinema chairs, ushers' uniforms from the 1940s and ‘50s, tickets, ashtrays and popcorn cartons, as well as an archive boasting hundreds of books, an estimated one million plus photos and 17 million feet of film." At its events volunteers regularly dress in original cinema attendants' costumes.
The museum seeks to celebrate all aspects of cinema and the moving image from silent films shown in exactly the correct gauge and at the right speed using specially adapted projectors, to screenings of modern television culture. It is developing a growing reputation  for its eclectic range of events.
Sale of museum building
In 2017 it was announced that the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which owns the building and leases it to the Museum, had decided to put the building up for sale on the open market. A campaign was launched with support from actors and filmmakers such as Ken Loach, and a petition to keep the Museum at the site has gained almost 20,000 signatures.
Items from the collection
- Horatia Harrod and Marianna Walker,"The A-Z of cinema", The Telegraph, 6 Jan 2008
- "Former Lambeth refuge for Charlie Chaplin is hidden home to London's Cinema Museum", Culture24, 23 September 2011
- David Smith, "Film museum faces unhappy ending: Eccentric and unique collection will be homeless in March unless a benefactor can be found", The Guardian, 13 October 2007.
- "Film buff's £3m plea to save sights and smells of cinema", The Scotsman, 2 August 2008.
- Emma Christie, " Collector hopes £3m appeal will save his cinema museum", The Press and Journal, 9 August 2008.
- Sarah Milroy, "Odes to a digital industry's handmade past", The Globe and Mail, 11 September 2009.
- "Inside the Cinema Museum"[permanent dead link], Time Out London, 27 March 2008.
- "Cinema museum under threat". South London News. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- "Campaign launched to save historical Cinema Museum". Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
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- Official website
- Daily Telegraph – London's unusual museums
- British Home Movie Day in the Guardian
- 10 Best Arts venues in South London – The Guardian
- Behind the scenes at the Cinema Museum with Michele Hanson in the Guardian