Help Save London's Cinema Museum

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silentfilm

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Help Save London's Cinema Museum

PostFri Oct 20, 2017 6:24 am

PETITION TO SAVE THE CINEMA MUSEUM

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The former Lambeth Workhouse where Charlie Chaplin spent some of his childhood has been home to The Cinema Museum for 19 years.

Despite our numerous attempts to buy the building over the years, and promises in writing from the freeholders SLaM (South London and Maudsley NHS Trust) that they would sell it to the Museum for a fair and independent price, they are now planning to sell at speed to the highest bidder, telling them The Cinema Museum’s lease expires in March 2018, implying that we can be easily evicted.

Please help us to save the this wonderful collection by signing the petition at https://www.change.org/p/matthew-patrick-slam-nhs-uk-love-cinema-save-the-cinema-museum, spreading the word through social media and donating.

Thank you.

I went to the Cinema Museum a couple of times while I was in London in 2014. It is an amazing place. It is stuffed full of movie and theater memorabilia as well as projectors and theater equipment. It also hosts the Kennington Biograph screenings. I can't imagine the effort required to move all of this stuff somewhere else! -- Bruce
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Help Save London's Cinema Museum

PostFri Oct 20, 2017 8:01 am

Signed, and donated a little.
Maybe I'll get there some day too.

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
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Brooksie

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Re: Help Save London's Cinema Museum

PostFri Oct 20, 2017 11:08 am

A very worthy cause. I hope it survives. :(
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Hamilton's Grandson

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Re: Help Save London's Cinema Museum

PostFri Oct 20, 2017 7:19 pm

They sent me a very nice email for signing the petition reminding me to share the information with others on social media .
Mark Hamilton (I) is on imdb.com
Joseph Hamilton (I) is on imdb.com
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silentfilm

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Re: Help Save London's Cinema Museum

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 9:42 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/dec/13/charlie-chaplin-family-join-fight-to-save-cinema-museum-london-workhouse-letter

Charlie Chaplin family join fight to save Cinema Museum in London

Former Lambeth workhouse where actor spent early childhood is the closest Britain has to Chaplin museum, say family in open letter
Chaplin’s time in the workhouse shaped his view of life and the characters that he created, notably his screen alter ego, the Little Tramp.
Chaplin’s time in the workhouse shaped his view of life and the characters that he created, notably his screen alter ego, the Little Tramp. Photograph: Everett/REX Shutterstock

Dalya Alberge

Wednesday 13 December 2017 02.00 EST

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The family of Charlie Chaplin have expressed dismay over the threatened closure of the Cinema Museum in south London, which they say is “the nearest thing that Britain has to a Chaplin museum”.

The museum is situated in a former Victorian workhouse in Lambeth that played an important role in the actor’s childhood.

In a letter, his family write that the Lambeth Workhouse to which a young, destitute Chaplin was sent with his stepbrother and his mother – only to suffer the distress of being separated from her – 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”.
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The letter’s signatories include Chaplin’s actor daughter, Geraldine, who played Tonya in David Lean’s classic film, Doctor Zhivago.

Calling for the museum to be saved, the family write: “The workhouse is a building that played a great part in our father’s early life. He and his mother and stepbrother, 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 … 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.”

Chaplin’s time in the workhouse shaped his view of life and the characters he created, notably his screen alter ego, the Little Tramp.

The Cinema Museum’s lease expires in March. The owner of the building, an NHS trust, wants to sell. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

The Cinema Museum, a registered charity, boasts artefacts and memorabilia that tell the story of cinema from the 1890s onwards. Its collection includes more than photographs, but original posters and artwork, projectors from every era and a cane believed to be one of Chaplin’s props.

The former workhouse has been the museum’s home for 19 years. The building is owned by the South London and Maudsley (Slam) NHS trust, which wants to sell it.

In their letter, Chaplin’s family praise the way that the building has been “transformed” into a vital social and cultural centre, and note an “incidental reason” for saving the museum: “To show young people and future generations a survival of the ambivalent social services of the Victorian era and early 20th century.”

In his autobiography, Chaplin wrote of the “shame of going to the workhouse”, recalling the “forlorn bewilderment” of being separated from his mother, Hannah, a music hall artist.

“How well I remember the poignant sadness of that first visiting day: the shock of seeing Mother enter the visiting-room garbed in workhouse clothes … In one week, she had aged and grown thin, but her face lit up when she saw us. Sydney and I began to weep … Sydney and I quickly adapted ourselves to workhouse life, but in an overcast sadness,” he wrote.

David Robinson, film critic and Chaplin biographer, told the Guardian: “The reaction of Chaplin’s children, that these far from happy encounters with the workhouse had much to do with the development of his unique creative power, is fascinating and I am sure correct. Any normal child exposed to the blows of his first 10 years would simply have succumbed. But this was no normal child. His gift was to survive and to transform this first-hand experience and observation of suffering and folly into an unequalled understanding of humankind.”

Glenn Mitchell, author of a Chaplin encyclopaedia, said everything must be done to secure the museum’s survival.

Its website notes that the lease expires in March, “implying that we can be easily evicted”.

Martin Humphries, the museum’s director and co-founder, described the Chaplin family’s letter as “absolutely incredible”.

The experience of coming into an institutionalised workhouse and being separated from his mother must have been psychologically traumatising for Chaplin, he said. The building, which opened in 1874 housing about 820 people, would have been a “forbidding looking” place.

Humphries said the museum was among several bidders for the property. Offers in excess of £10m have been sought. The museum is working in partnership with a housing association, Family Mosaic, now part of Peabody.

A Slam spokeswoman said: “As a public NHS body, it is our duty and aim to sell these properties so that we maximise the value for these assets.”

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