// www.chrisgavin.com: Cinema Theatre Archive

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Cinema Theatre Archive

Last week I made a special visit to the Cinema Theatre Association archive in Walthamstow. The CTA is dedicated to preserving and documenting Britain's Cinema architecture.

I've specifically been researching the old 1930 Carlton Cinema building in Islington; a huge 2400 seater with a very impressive Egyptian style façade. The archive certainly didn't disappoint, with folder upon folder of photographs, clippings, documents and posters etc. relating to this grand old picture house.

The archive holds an impressive (if slightly chaotic) photographic record of the cinema from its opening in the early 30's through to the Bingo Hall era of the 70s and 80's,



Amazingly, there's a plan chest containing the original architects plans of the building from the architecture office of George Coles. There were about 8 sheets, each around A0 in size showing plans, elevations and cross-sections of the building.

As part of my ongoing project, I'm considering making a 3D model of the cinema's façade: I can see these scale drawings being a pretty useful thing to have access to.


















As for the archive itself, it's a truly unique and fascinating resource,  the CTA is run on donations and entirely staffed by volunteers. The collection is housed on an industrial estate in unspectacular surroundings, and visits are by arrangement only.


  This place is fair-crammed to the rafters with bulging box files and cinema ephemera.


I'd especially like to thank CTA members Richard Gray and Rachael Marks who have both helped me a lot with my enquiries so far.

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