On the other musical hand

On the other musical hand

All standard musical instruments require ten active fingers to be able to play them and up to 30,000 children in UK schools are deprived access to music-making as a result. But OHMI is opening up musical expression to them, Simon Tait reports

First woman MP’s portrait presented to Commons

First woman MP’s portrait presented to Commons

This portrait of Constance Countess Markievicz, the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1918, was last night presented to the House on behalf of the Irish parliament.

V&A fulfills £100k regional pledge

V&A fulfills £100k regional pledge

The Victoria & Albert Museum is fulfilling the promise its then director made when it won the 2016 Art Fund Museum of the Year award, to revive its touring design exhibitions.

Pictures at an Exhibition

Pictures at an Exhibition

The Great Exhibition of the North is underway. But will it fulfil the hopes of its creators? Patrick Kelly has a look.

Huge fall in numbers of arts teachers

Huge fall in numbers of arts teachers

Arts teacher numbers in England are in dramatic decline, according to official figures.

Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland’s Archer resigns

Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer, is leaving after five years in the role.

Kampfner stands down from Fed

Kampfner stands down from Fed

John Kampfner has stood down as chief executive of the Creative Industries’ Federation, which he founded four years ago with Sir John Sorrell.

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Audience agency in Scotland closes

Axe falls after Creative Scotland grant cut

Site making its Steel City mark

Site making its Steel City mark

Sheffield’s Site Gallery is to reopen with three times the space, and a new mission with a new artistic director, it was announced today.

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

Ground rules set for Brexit culture deal

The government’s Brexit white paper has set out a basis to ensure artists’ mobility between the UK and Europe after Brexit.

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Battersea Arts Centre heralds reopening with Trump protest

Three years since Battersea Arts Centre’s great hall burnt down, it is pre-empting it autumn opening today with a defiant message for Donald Trump https://www.bac.org.uk.

TAITMAIL   What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

TAITMAIL What, me worry, when Mr Wright has come along?

Who is Jeremy Wright, the headlines on Tuesday were asking.  For me, he bears an unnerving likeness to Mad Magazine’sAlfred E Neuman (a kind of 1960s Forrest Gump who only ever said “What, me worry?”), but he was the Attorney General and is now the seventh Secretary State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport since 2010.

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich to get a Colour Palace

Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London is to get a “Colour Palace” for its gardens next summer.

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

Shakespeare Schools wins Japanese arts prize

The Shakespeare Schools Foundation has won £33,000 in the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale 2018 awards.

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s tours to go green

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company is to collaborate with environmental sustainability agency Julie’s Bicycle to creative a creative green certificate for touring.

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Arts centre plan for Reading Gaol

Councillors in Reading are backing a plan to turn the town’s famous jail into an arts centre.

New culture secretary appointed

New culture secretary appointed

Kenilworth MP and former Attorney General Jeremy Wright MP is the latest Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport .

New 'Netflix for the arts' to launch

A company has announced plans to to set up a vesrion of Netflix for the arts.

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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