Ronald Grant and I set up The Cinema Museum (Lambeth/Southwark borders) over 35 years ago, on a shoestring, in one room with a small collection of well-loved cinematic stuff. Over time it has grown into a magnificent, unique and well loved collection that celebrates the social history of 'going to the cinema' - its an amalgam of artefacts, memorabilia, films, records, archives, posters, people, lives, memories, tears, fears and laughter - on and around the silver screen.
Ronald and I and our trustees and volunteers bring all this alive through tours, talks, Q&A evenings, events, performances, screenings, projects, and community celebrations. And it all happens in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building that was once home to Charlie Chaplin and his brother and mother (and nearly burned to the ground by our departed friend Michael Winner whilst he was filming here!).
Its authentic, intriguing and fun. But it also has a serious side - we want the passion we have for our collections to be purposeful and have a positive impact on people's lives - so we offer up our spaces, collections and volunteer time to support positive social change. We support documentary makers, film-makers, artists, students, universities, community groups, local charities, volunteers, carers - and work that strives to resolve social and environmental problems. Despite being a charity, we have always raised all our own funds, never relying on the public purse and up until COVID we raised 100% of our income from our events and activities. COVID has meant temporary closure for us - cutting off our income stream entirely with no notice - but we still have to pay all our bills and maintain this lovely grade 2 listed building. To date we have not qualified for any COVID emergency funding. You have heard of the organisations that have 'fallen through the net'? Well, that's us guys. But we are not complaining, well done to those who did and good luck to everyone - we are all mates in a crisis. If you think we can help you in any way then do get in touch - especially in you are in Lambeth or Southwark. But, back to me - I need to cover the costs of closure and I need to get my Museum back open. My collections are not really alive without your visits and neither really am I - so please be part of this with me and contribute what you can. It will mean the world to Ronald, me and all our brilliant volunteers. Thanks a million. And whilst we are thanking people - thanks you to our great friend and photographer Francesco Zavattari (Studio Matitanera). Most importantly, I need to thank our two most impressive local residents, two fantastic supporters of The Cinema Museum AND two of the best actors this country has, Rory Kinnear and Toby Jones who were the first to step up and dig VERY DEEP to help kickstart our fundraising. So - come and join us - you'll be part of saving a unique and lovely thing and you'll be in the best possible company!