For several terms now, my son’s been enjoying a young filmmakers’ Saturday club run by the BFI (British Film Institute) at the SouthBank.
On Saturday, as an extra added bonus between his terms on Film Noir and Documentary filmmaking, they provided him with the opportunity of a guided tour and talk at one of London’s biggest kept secrets and a real Aladdin’s cave of cinema at the Cinema Museum in Kennington. And, better still, parents could go along too !
Well worth a trip if you want to swot up on the history of British cinema houses, although it is by tour arrangement only so you have to book up so they can arrange volunteers to take you round.
With tales of the old cinema-going experience throwing up such memories as when I used to work at my local ABC (and then Cannon) cinema and having to run along the queues to tell people how many seats were left available and if they were single seats or pairs, it was a great trip and I’d love to have had the chance to have a proper mooch around and take some snaps. Even with our relatively small group the corridors of what was once an old workhouse building were very cramped.
And you’re bound to find out something you didn’t know along the way too. I did get a shiver when told that when the building housed briefly, as well as a certain Charlie Chaplin, one of the victims of Jack the Ripper!
And who knew there was once an ‘H’ (for Horror) Certification before it became an ‘X’ ?
Thanks to the staff at the Museum and to Jo and David at the BFI.