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.
Founded in 1986 by former projectionist and collectors Ronald Grant and Martin Humphries from their own private collection of cinema history and memorabilia. The Cinema Museum is housed in the Victorian finery of the administration block of the former Lambeth Workhouse — a fitting location as it's where Charlie Chaplin lived for a time as a child when his family fell on hard times.
The Cinema Museum's unique collection of artefacts, equipment and memorabilia reflects the glory and history of cinema from the 1890s to the present. A comprehensive collection, it covers all aspects of the cinema, from the architecture and fittings of picture houses to the advertisements that promoted the films.
The collection contains over a million photographs, including cinemas and cinema-going; an extensive collection of artwork and posters; projectors from all eras; usherettes' uniforms; fixtures and fittings, including ashtrays, carpets. seating and signage: plans and artwork for cinema architecture and interiors; and over 17m feet of film. The printed archive has a large collection of campaign books, cinema sheet music, fan magazines, periodicals and trade magazines, and there's a library of books about actors and film criticism.