TAITMAIL  Cliff edge or launching point?

TAITMAIL Cliff edge or launching point?

We’re on the brink. The political arrogance, diplomatic blundering, economic obfuscating and cultural ignorance have led the cultural industries to the top of Beachy Head and about to step off. Or are we?

THE WORD   ‘Centre of culture’ is not about space

THE WORD ‘Centre of culture’ is not about space

says Reuben Kench, director of culture, events and leisure at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council in response to a recent Taitmail input into the debate about cities and towns of culture, and our empty high streets

AI PROFILE		Lord of the dance

AI PROFILE Lord of the dance

Sir Richard Alston, artist director of The Place and the Richard Alston Dance Company

Carlos Acosta to run Birmingham Royal Ballet

Carlos Acosta to run Birmingham Royal Ballet

Former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta is to succeed David Bintley as artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, the company has announced.

Kathy Bourne returns to Chichester

Kathy Bourne returns to Chichester

Producer Kathy Bourne is to be the new executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre, along alongside artistic director Daniel Evans.

Tullie House all dressed up for Wolfson award

Tullie House all dressed up for Wolfson award

Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum is the big winner in the latest round of DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund grants.

MY STORY The other side of the picture

MY STORY The other side of the picture

DAVID HICKS   

The greetings card company Really Good was started by David Hicks more than 30 years ago with a £40 government enterprise allowance, and capital of £200. It is now worth £4m and sells in 30 countries, but its founder has made a dramatic career change. 

DEA BIRKETT  Mime - and the last word in circus

DEA BIRKETT Mime - and the last word in circus

In the latest in her series marking the 250th anniversary of the circus, Dea Birkett – the official Ringmaster of Circus250 – discovers more about her artform at the London International Mime Festival

ACE launches £6m leadership fund

ACE launches £6m leadership fund

Arts Council chair Nicholas Serota today launched a new £6m leadership investment fund for museums, libraries and the arts.

RSC heads new era for immersive drama

RSC heads new era for immersive drama

A £16m research programme led by the Royal Shakespeare Company could herald a new era for audiences.

Five vie for new £125k art gallery prize

Five vie for new £125k art gallery prize

Five galleries have been shortlisted for the new £125,000 Ampersand Award to help realise development proposals.

Preston’s Harris Museum gets HLF development boost

Preston’s Harris Museum gets HLF development boost

A £10.7m transformation of Preston’s Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library has received a major funding fillip with a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Creative students on the rise

Creative students on the rise

The numbers of university students studying creative arts and design has grown by 10.5% in the last ten years, according to a new report from the Knowledge Academy.

Drama of keeping more things in the air than you have hands

Drama of keeping more things in the air than you have hands

AI Profile :  Sean Gandini, artistic director, Gandini Juggling

Dramatic new bridge to Arthur’s castle

Dramatic new bridge to Arthur’s castle

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, traditionally associated with the legends of King Arthur, is to get this dramatic new bridge as part of a £5m English Heritage improvement programme.

What's up in… Glasgow

What's up in… Glasgow

AI looks at what's coming up around the country – this time, the arts in Glasgow

DEA BIRKETT  Fear and risk – still part of the circus

DEA BIRKETT Fear and risk – still part of the circus

In the next on her series marking the 250th anniversary of the circus, Dea Birkett – the official Ringmaster of Circus250 – sees that life under the Big Top is as perilous as ever

NEW YEAR HONOURS: Alston leads arts list

NEW YEAR HONOURS: Alston leads arts list

Choreographer Richard Alston has crowned his 70th birthday with a knighthood in the New Year Honours List.

Sister Wendy Becket dies

Sister Wendy Becket dies

Sister Wendy Becket, the hermit nun who became the most unlikely TV star of the 1990s, died on Boxing Day in her beloved solitary caravan in Norfolk at the age of 88.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Orgreave, South Yorkshire, June 1984, by Martin Jenkinson

DEA BIRKETT  The real world shared by circus and museums

DEA BIRKETT The real world shared by circus and museums

In the next in her series marking the 250th anniversary of the circus, Dea Birkett – the official Ringmaster of Circus250 – finds that big top performance and gallery display have more in common that you think

Iskander to take over Battersea Arts Centre

Iskander to take over Battersea Arts Centre

Tarek Iskander, Arts Council England’s director for theatre, is to be the new artistic director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre.

2018's listing highlights: a cock, a cricket pavilion and a subway

2018's listing highlights: a cock, a cricket pavilion and a subway

Historic England have highlighted the 23 most notable listed monuments of 2018, including the elaborate underpass at Crystal Palace, the Sutton pub sign with no pub and Robin Hood.

Tate acquires Sylvia Pankhurst paintings

Tate acquires Sylvia Pankhurst paintings

Tate is to acquire four paintings by the Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) depicting the working conditions of women in the north.

MOVIES Saving cinema

The unique Cinema Museum in a former Lambeth workhouse is fighting for survival. Simon Tait reports

There are museums that are created to fill a gap in the public understanding of history, some that arise out of personal enthusiasm, some that act as a community’s memory, some that shouldn’t really have happened at all. The Cinema Museum in Lambeth doesn’t fit into any of these categories: this is a museum that just had to be where it is, the extent and range of its collections a unique resource for both casual visitors and scholars.

And it has to be where it is if only because it is housed in the budding where the biggest name in cinema history, Charlie Chaplin, spent some months as an eight-year-old in this building with his mother, Hannah, and his half-brother Sidney. It used to be the Lambeth Workhouse, and it’s a period Chaplin never forgot and even recreated in his films.

But it might not be for much longer, even though it has offered more than £10m to buy the site from the owners, an NHS Trust. The museum, a charity, is one of about half a dozen bidders, and it may hear on Monday, December 11, the decision of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust 

The museum is based in the collections of Ronald Grant and Martin Humphries, compiled over more than 40 years and comprising over a million film stills, thousands of posters, 7,000 books, a room full of programmes and fan magazines dating back to the 1880s, and another room devoted to building histories.

It stayed a private collection, stored in the Brixton building that now houses the Black History Archive until its owners decided the public needed to have access. In 1998 it moved to its present home, at first on a five year lease, subsequently on a annual lease the last of which expires in March. A lot of the collection is not not seen by the public but is there for researchers, all on site.

It is run entirely by volunteers, is rather off the beaten track in Kennington, has guided tours, events programmes, open afternoons on the second Saturday of every month, and has 15,000 visitors a year.

On public display are everything to do with the cinema experience – huge projectors, staff uniforms, arts deco carpets, teapots in the shape of Odeons, Ritzys and couples on back row seats; actual cinema seats; signage; endless star photos; usherettes’ torches; tickets galore; ticket price boards; programmes ditto; posters ditto; a thorough display devoted to Charlie Chaplin; and in the tiny cinema showings of short films from the vast archive.

It has the expressed support of stars like Glenda Jackson, Mark Gatiss, Michael Palin and Michael Palin, and a petition signed by thousands.

The museum, says Martin Humphries, has been stifled by its lease arrangements, and in August in a policy switch the trust decided to dispose of the building with the intention to complete by the end of the year, a kick in the shins for the museum which has been trying to buy the building from the trust for a decade, and once almost succeeded.

Because it does not have the security of more than five years' tenure, it cannot apply for public funding. Therefore it cannot have staff to allow it to open more regularly, and cannot expand. If it does acquire the property it can extend behind to create a new ground floor exhibition gallery, and restore a derelict Victorian terrace on the site to make a separate Chaplin museum. The attraction of the building to a developer is limited, because it is listed Grade II, and it doesn’t not have to be sold to the highest bidder. The planning authority, Lambeth Council, is a staunch supporter of the museum that had expressed its belief in the importance of it to the community in written submissions to the owners  that said it wanted the museum to remain where it is.

“If we aren’t successful we’ll work with any developer or housing association that would like us to remain, and all we want is a sustainable future for the Cinema Museum” says Humphries.  “But if we're not here, the museum ceases to be and the collections will be dispersed.”

 

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