Cinema Museum

Guided Tour with selected film fragments, refreshments (London SE11, Thursday 13 February at 1.30pm

From the Announcement in the @@ Newsletter :


From the Report, by Chantal Tjon, in the Spring 2014 Newsletter :

“As England suffered from one of the most severe flooding, some members were unfortunately unable to travel to the museum. So a small group was greeted by one of the directors, Ronald Grant, who gave a two-hour tour through this special museum.
The Cinema museum is located in the Master’s House, the administration block of the former Lambeth Workhouse, which coincidentally Charlie Chaplin entered as a child when his mother faced destitution. Ronald explained about the history of the Victorian building (1871) and the hard life of people in a workhouse.

In the old visiting room turned cinema we were shown old films. The first short film was from 1910 and, how very appropriate, reported the great flooding in Paris. The quality was impressive for a 104-year-old movie: clear black and white images. Other films included information films about spreading false rumours during WWII by the Ministry of Information, encouraging people to recycle and how to use the telephone in 1936.  And advertising films from a New Zealand animator with experimental painting on film itself and documentaries about the last tram ride and the booming of the different types of coffee houses in London in the 1960s were also shown. Not only was it nice to see how well preserved the films are, but especially to get an impression about historical London and issues dealt with at that time. The last film was the eldest; from the famous Pathé frères made in 1906 using stencil colour, colouring each frame separately.

After watching the nice selection from the large film archive, Ronald took us around the rest of the museum, sharing with us his life story as a projector at the cinema. Starting as an apprentice at very young age, he vividly described the daily routines and developments at the cinemas in the last century. We passed by many different cinema objects as seating signs, the stills that were used for advertising, old equipment, publications and not forgetting the scented evaporator with disinfectant. One hallway is completely dedicated to the Workhouse’s famous inhabitant Charlie Chaplin and in the chapel is now a large cinema that shows old movies to the public.

The tour ended with the collection of uniforms of ushers and usherettes. The details and variation in the uniforms were an important part of a cinema’s identity. It was all in all a very entertaining and informative tour, especially for our small group of film enthusiasts.
Members’ thanks are due to the Events Committee for spotting this interesting museum and organising the guided tour. ”