The Cinema Museum in Elephant & Castle
After a period of closure (thanks to Covid) Elephant and Castle’s Cinema Museum is open again to the public. Here’s what to expect when visiting.
- 10 December 2021
- Elephant Park
Elephant and Castle’s Cinema Museum (also known as the Cinema Museum, London) is a wonderful place for a day trip, especially if you’re a lover of all things cinematic!
Not only is it home to memorabilia, artefacts, and equipment dating back to the origins of cinema in the 1890s, it’s also home to the Kennington Bioscope: an historic cinema experience where you can enjoy a silent film with live instrumental accompaniment. The Museum has a lively programme of events throughout the year, so here’s everything you need to know before you pay it a visit.
Whilst the Museum itself is only open to those who are attending an event or have booked a guided tour, there are plenty of artefacts to browse through. Prepare for a strong dose of nostalgia – particularly if you’re met by a volunteer dressed in a cinema uniform of old. As well as artefacts, old film reels (which they often work to restore), and equipment, there is also a fine collection of vintage cinema uniforms.
The Museum also gives a nod to Elephant and Castle’s cinematic history, referencing the longstanding Coronet theatre which closed for demolition a few years ago.
Guided tours will be recommencing in 2022. Keep your eyes peeled on the Homepage [LINK TO HOMEPAGE] for updates on when these will take place.
The Kennington Bioscope is an Elephant and Castle Cinema in its own right, albeit with a bit of a twist.
The Bioscope show was one of the earliest forms of cinema, at the height of its popularity between the 1890s and World War I. They were originally forms of travelling cinema, usually hosted in music halls and fairgrounds, accompanied by an organ and sometimes live dancers. As the artform took off, the films being produced became more complex and longer in format – without the dancers. Creating an experience more like what we know cinema to be today.
Kennington Bioscope uses historic equipment and reels to show authentic, silent movies complete with instrumental accompaniment. It’s ran by a group of enthusiasts and historians who try to keep the experience as authentic as possible.
Roughly once a month they host an event at The Cinema Museum. If you haven’t yet attended a silent film, we suggest you attend – it’s not something you’ll easily forget!
With the nearest ODEON cinema to Elephant & Castle being in Leicester Square, why not try something different and support a local institution in the meantime? There is a busy programme of events you can attend at The Cinema Museum. It’s also home to a number of appreciation groups for silent movie stars and comedians like Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton. At such events you can enjoy a silent film as well as talks, book launches and presentations by experts in the field of cinema.
For the West End Stage enthusiasts among you, Musical Sundays might pique your interest. December brings the festive favourite A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, but you can expect similar toe-tapping viewings throughout the year.
If it’s live stage you’re looking for, the Southwark Playhouse Events calendar is equally as full. So in terms of entertainment, you’re well catered for – without even having to leave the borough!
For more information about the museum and to view the events programme in full, please visit the Cinema Museum website.