Cinema Museum (London)

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The old Master House at Lambeth Workhouse, now the Cinema Museum
Exhibits on the walls of the Cinema Museum

The Cinema Museum is a charitable organisation founded in 1986 by Ronald Grant and Martin Humphries from their own private collection of cinema history and memorabilia.


First established in 1986 in Raleigh Hall in Brixton,[1] the museum later moved to Kennington;[2] 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.[3]

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.[4][5]

Having survived a threat to its existence owing to the proposed sale of the building, as of 2011 the museum was engaged in efforts to secure its future with public funding.[2] The museum is the subject of a Guardian documentary [6] and a 2008 documentary by the Canadian film artist Mark Lewis.[7]


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.

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."[8] 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 [9] for its eclectic range of events.

It has even been rated the eighth-best pub in Kennington [10]

It is located near Elephant and Castle and Kennington tube stations.

Volunteers dressed in original cinema uniforms

Items from the collection[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′32″N 0°06′19″W / 51.4923°N 0.1053°W / 51.4923; -0.1053