On 16th May, Martin Humphries, Director of the Cinema Museum gave a very entertaining tour of the many artefacts and collections that have been rescued, donated or reclaimed from cinemas in decline across the country. Items included Projectors, Posters and for example, wooden Film Classification boards, where it was noted in days gone by, a Category ‘H’ was used for ‘Horrific’ films as well as Category ‘A’ for Adults and ‘U’ for Universal viewing.
The current home of the Cinema Museum is in the Master’s House in Dugard Way, off Renfrew Road in London SE11 and was part of the Old Lambeth Workhouse, rebuilt in 1871-73 with a Chapel upstairs. Charlie Chaplin was the most famous person who came there as a child along with his brother Sydney and mother Hannah who had fallen on hard times. Charlie Chaplin’s experience there is credited to shaping much of his work and political thinking.
Many films are shown in the Cinema Museum each month, either downstairs or upstairs in the large atmospheric, high ceilinged, previous Chapel. This area can also be hired for private events. To finish our tour, Martin provided a private showing of old, silent films in the small theatre downstairs which we all enjoyed.
It was a unique experience to visit the Cinema Museum as it captured and brought alive the golden age of cinema and memories of yesteryear. It is a valuable resource and we wish every success to all those involved in securing this beautiful 19th Century building as its future, secure home.