The @CinemaMuseum needs our help – please sign their petition :)

The lovely Cinema Museum in Elephant / Kennington (53 bus from Blackheath Royal Standard takes you straight there (with a 10 minute walk from the stop by the London College of Communication) is under threat of losing its premises which are being sold by the South London and Maudsley Trust (SLAM). They’re raising money for the NHS (good) but the cinema museum is a lovely place which does all sorts of wonderful things for different communities, and it would be a shame if it were lost (bad).

Sign the petition, share the petition 🙂

I was there last night for a fundraising event with Matthew Sweet interviewing Mark Gatiss (it was great) about some of his favourite films, with clips. It was packed. It’s a really lovely place and I’ve been a few times to see films, attend the Home Cinema Day and hear talks. They serve tea and cake (Tunnock’s products also feature), I’ve had the most delicious spinach and feta ‘sausage’ rolls there too, plus they have a full bar. Plenty of loos upstairs and downstairs and every bit of space is covered in something interesting from cinemas around the UK. My favourite things are the old projectors, which must have been quite a sight when running. Below are some photos of mine (help yourself) and found in other people’s tweets (don’t help yourself but it’s OK to embed the whole tweet).


Upstairs at the Cinema Museum – all the books are for sale and the bit on the right is where the bar is. Further to the right (not in shot) at a 90 degree angle is the tea and cake area. Plus all the recycling bins.


Jeff Goldblum in character as Dexter King from The Tall Guy which I’m hoping to get screened at the museum at some point… it’s not on FilmBank though. This is upstairs, at the back of the room above (where the loos are).


The main upstairs cinema screen / auditorium, packed for Matthew Sweet and Mark Gatiss. To the right of the white and green unit, next to the table (with a white and green gingham table cloth) you can just make out part of the black wooden structure that makes up an image of Charlie Chaplin. It crops up a bit more clearly in Patricia Brown’s tweet below.


A lot of camera lenses.

Here’s another picture I took of it years ago.

Cinema Museum's film camera lenses – original

A post shared by Jo Brodie (@jobrodie) on


The Cinemeccanica projector, with lenses ablaze thanks to my flash. This sits upstairs by the stairwell.


A thing I covet. The clock that reminds me of the microphone used in Singin’ in the Rain. To its left is a Moviola film editing unit.


Lights, cameras, projectors, stuff.


One of the downstairs corridors, again packed full with stuff.


A Kalee projector.

Kalee film projectors at the Cinema Museum

Another photograph I took of the Kalee projectors a few years ago (2011). The light was coincidental, it wasn’t ‘lit’ other than by the sun.


The very lovely glass Cinema sign in the smaller downstairs cinema just as you come in.

2012-10-20 12.51.31

Still no idea what this is. Guessing is fun. I assume a light of some sort.


Open air cinema on your doorstep (if you’re in Blackheath / Greenwich / Lee / Peckham)

This weekend the Luna Cinema is screening Groundhog Day (Fri 7 July), Arrival (Sat 8 July) and Top Gun (Sun 9 July) in Greenwich Park.

The Rooftop Film Club is showing lots of films all summer on top of the Bussey Building in Peckham. The building is a three minute walk* from Peckham Rye, which is itself only 13 minutes from Blackheath station on the Victoria trains.

Pop Up Screens is showing Jurassic Park (Fri 25 Aug), Four Weddings and a Funeral (Sat 26 Aug) and Grease (Sun 27 Aug) in Manor House Gardens, which is listed as Hither Green but seems pretty Lee-ish. It’s a 17 minute walk from Blackheath station (according to Citymapper). You can also take the 202 bus to Stop F (on the opposite side of the road from the Sainsbury’s, Burnt Ash Road Lee Road (Stop ID: 58365), the 261 stops there too, then walk up a little bit to the crossroads and turn right into Taunton Road.

All the open air cinema screening organisations listed, and many others, are showing other films across London and a reasonably complete list is here:

*Don’t forget that the last weekday train from Peckham Rye to Blackheath is 23:51 and you might need to allow a bit longer to walk back to the station as they close off the main cut-through back to the station. I discovered this last night after a lovely screening of Pride and Prejudice there (with a fun Q&A with Joe Wright the director beforehand) which has a run time of 2h 15 and began at 9.45. I’d allowed 10 mins to get back to the station and had quite the sense of humour failure when someone tried to redirect me to follow a different, longer route in an opposite direction, risking losing the train – fortunately I won that argument, they opened the barrier for me and I got the last train home.


Camberwell Free Film Festival – on now

Camberwell is a 14 minute train ride from Blackheath to Denmark Hill station, plus a 10 min walk into the main shopping bit of Camberwell, so pretty much half an hour door to door.Dulwich is a tiny little bit further away though.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 23.27.01.png

Camberwell Free Film Festival – 31 March to 10 April 2016

7 April (Thursday)
A girl walks home alone at night – 9pm, Jazz Live at the Crypt, Camberwell Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 23.28.05

8 April (Friday)
Another Sunday and Sweet FA + Fraktus – 7.45pm, Dulwich Hamlet Football Club

9 April (Saturday)
Paddington – 1pm, Sceaux Gardens Tenants and Residents Association – Camberwell
Changing face of Camberwell + Pool of London – 2pm, William Booth College – Camberwell
Bugsy Malone – 7.30pm, Longfield Hall – Camberwell

10 April (Sunday)
Suffragette – 2pm, William Booth College – Camberwell
Tangerine – 8pm, The Flying Dutchman – Camberwell


Getting there
It’s the Victoria train and it runs every half an hour, last one returning is 00:21 and if you miss it the N89 runs through Camberwell ‘village’ or the 185 and 484 buses go past Denmark Hill on their way to Lewisham.
[Find next train from Blackheath to Denmark Hill]
[Find next train from Denmark Hill to Blackheath]


A lovely evening at the Woolwich Grand Theatre watching Belle

Belle_posterI’m on the mailing list for the South East London Film Club Listings which told me that the film Belle was showing at the Woolwich Grand Theatre Film Club tonight, tomorrow (24th) and Saturday (25th) at 5pm (not Saturday), 7pm and 9pm, for a fiver.

It’s a lovely film which I was surprised to have missed on its main release and particularly nice to see lots of Greenwich and other recognisable bits of London on the screen. Beautiful music too, which was by Rachel Portman (she also did the scores for Emma and Chocolat among others) and a very pleasant screening room – I got a comfy sofa as I went for the 7pm screening so it was super quiet. The people running it made me a cup of tea as well and as there was no popcorn on-site I nipped across the road to the very futuristic new Tesco that seems to have sprung up since I was last in Woolwich (other than for the Tall Ships).

I also spotted the open air screen (free) in General Gordon Square which seems to show cultural things. I think it was showing a music performance but couldn’t hear any music.

Belle tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a white Navy captain and a black slave woman who dies. The father brings his daughter to the family home (Kenwood House, actually for real, not just used as the family home in the film, it’s where they lived) of his aunt and uncle and asks them to look after her for him. She has a good status (rank and money, particularly after her father’s death where she’s left with money) but as someone of mixed race and illegitimate she is excluded from formal family dinners and debutante events. Her family treat her kindly, but still as ‘other’.

Her uncle (William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield) is the Lord Chief Justice at the time and is working on a dodgy insurance claim relating to a ship which jettisoned its slaves (to drown) and claimed that this was to maintain the survival of the ship. He has to make a judgment on the case – whether to make the insurers pay for the loss of the ‘cargo’ or to apportion blame to the ship’s crew who made the decision. There’s a romantic sub-plot and a happy ending for Dido and the events depicted in the film led to the eventual abolition of slavery in the UK.

Woolwich is about half an hour away from Blackheath (depends on the bus route but 53, 54, 380 and 422 go from the Village or Shooter’s Hill / Standard areas) and all those buses return to Blackheath from Bus Stop S which is opposite the cinema, by the library.

Here are some pics I took of the Woolwich Grand Theatre’s main hall and the area leading up to the red room (where the screening took place).

Open air films near Westcombe Park (at Greenwich Pleasaunce)

The lovely Pop Up Screens are bringing a couple of films to Westcombe Park (at the East Greenwich Pleasaunce) in a few weeks, weather permitting. They are The Truman Show on 20 September and Bedknobs and Broomsticks on 21 September, and both start at 8pm.

Tickets and info: The Truman Show | Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Location: Chevening Road, Greenwich, SE10 0LA – nearest rail station is Westcombe Park which has trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street or London Bridge. Buses going past the station include the 108, 286, 386 and 422.