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The Cinema Museum

unique artefacts that preserve the history of cinema from the 1890s to the present day

The Cinema Museum

2 Dugard Way London SE11 4TH
+44 20 7840 2200

London’s Cinema Museum is devoted to keeping alive the spirit of cinema from the days before the multiplex. Set in historic surroundings in Kennington, close to the Elephant & Castle, the Cinema Museum houses a unique collection of artefacts, memorabilia and equipment that preserves the history and grandeur of cinema from the 1890s to the present day: cinema carpet, seats, ushers uniforms, posters, ashtrays, projectors...

It began as the personal collection of Ronald Grant, a cinema projectionist and film lover from Aberdeen who moved to London in the 1960s and worked at the Brixton Ritzy before dropping out to run a bookstall in Portobello Market. As his collection continued to swell, it became clear that it was in need of a proper home. In the 1980s Grant met Humphries, whose background was in arts administration, and in 1986 they established the museum, which they still oversee together while also working in the Ronald Grant Archive, an expert image library that pays for the museum’s running costs.

Hidden off Kennington Lane, behind a Buddhist centre and next to a nursing home, the museum is announced by little more than a small plaque. In its 12 years in the Master’s House – a Victorian building which once formed part of the old Lambeth Workhouse – it has never been open to the public in the conventional sense. Instead initiates have had to call ahead to arrange a guided tour. The Museum is available most days for visits but it is essential that tours are booked in advance by phone or email as volunteer guides need to be arranged. As well as the guided tours they run a programme of old film showings, talks, etc.

FYI: Its open only for pre-booked tours.

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