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The Cinema Museum in Kennington

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  • The Cinema Museum in Kennington

    Not sure if this is the best place to post this particular alert - nor, for that matter, whether such appeals are permitted on BritMovie - so apologies in advance for any transgressions....

    But the precious resource of The Cinema Museum in South London is under threat, since the lease expires early next year. The building - once the poorhouse for the district and workplace of the mother of a certain Charles Chaplin - may well be sold off to the highest bidder and another gem, staffed and run with love and loyalty by dedicated volunteers, will be lost forever.

    If anyone reading this has ever visited this magical place they will testify to its wonderful collection of all things related to British film; from ancient projectors and movie stills to books, prints, props and cinema posters dating back to a bygone age. It's a real treasure trove for anyone like us who values British cinema. A petition has been launched and a number of well known faces from the world of British film and theatre are lending their support... it really would be such a shame to see it close.

  • #2
    I hope everyone will sign and support this petition, as this invaluable resource for preserving, showing and education on early movies must not be lost.


    • #3
      This London cinema museum - scheduled for closure before the end of the year - is on the site of the workhouse where Chaplin lived as a child. Please consider signing.


      • #4
        Been there many times, most recently for the launch of the new book about The Professionals last Sunday, which saw many actors from the show in attendance. I do hope it survives as it’s a great venue.


        • #5
          Perhaps the place could be moved to somewhere out of London with a cheaper lease. Other places do exist.


          • #6
            I visited the museum a couple of years ago while in London for a day. I was given a guided tour all to myself and it was wonderful. I hope another "home" can be found for it - it is such a hidden gem.
            I'll definitely sign the petition.


            • #7
              Like I said why can’t it move somewhere out of London where costs are cheaper. It might be able to stay open then. But maybe it would rather close than do that!


              • #8
                Originally posted by googiefan View Post
                Like I said why can’t it move somewhere out of London where costs are cheaper. It might be able to stay open then. But maybe it would rather close than do that!
                Perhaps because it's the very building Chaplin lived in.
                The petition is now nearing 18,000 signatures and there's some dealing afoot.


                • #9
                  There are other places not in London where other actors lived perhaps even in the north of Britain. There is life in the North.


                  • #10
                    I am from and still live in the North. The Cinema Museum is a part of the fabric of LONDON. It shouldn't have to up sticks and move!


                    Last edited by Tonch; 14th December 2017, 12:11 PM.


                    • #11
                      The whole point of this campaign is that the building is where Chaplin lived. Members of his family have now written a letter in support of the campaign, as follows:

                      As the children of the late Sir Charles Chaplin, we - and our own children - have been distressed to learn of the threat to the Cinema Museum,
                      which is housed in the former Lambeth Workhouse in Renfrew Road, London. The workhouse is a building that played a great part in our father’s early life. He and his mother and step-brother, abandoned by their father, lived nearby, in a variety of poor lodgings, and were frequently driven to seek refuge in the workhouse. Our father’s first encounter with Renfrew Road was when he was four (and when the building had been there only 22 years): his maternal grandmother was taken there, to be transferred thereafter to a lunatic asylum. The boys were frequently given shelter when their mother was unable to look after them.
                      His last visit to Renfrew Road workhouse was in May 1903 when, now 14, he somehow managed to take his mother – our grandmother - there, on foot, suffering as she was from extreme mental disorder. This time she was transferred to Cane Hill asylum, and was to spend practically the rest of her life under psychiatric care.
                      It is not a celebratory piece of family history by any means, but we now recognise that this painful experience did much to mould our father’s unique creative gift.
                      It is for this reason that we have been so heartened to see this building transformed into such a vital social and cultural centre for the locality and for London, celebrating the art and societal function of cinema and – particularly heartening to us – creating the nearest thing that Britain has to a Chaplin Museum.
                      An incidental reason for maintaining the present status of the Renfrew Road building would be to show young people and future generations a survival of the ambivalent social services of the Victorian era and early 20th century.
                      We sincerely hope that you will do everything you can to save the Cinema Museum
                      Yours sincerely
                      Geraldine Chaplin
                      Michael Chaplin
                      Victoria Chaplin
                      Annette Chaplin
                      Jane Chaplin