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A Penny for the Pictures

The social significance of cinema in London before the First World War.

Cinemas first appeared in London in 1906, and by 1911 there were over 400 places in Greater London where you could see a film. People flocked to them in their millions. Many of the first cinema audiences were children, drawn to the thrills of 'cowboys and indians', and revelling in a public form of entertainment that both lay within their price range and which actively welcomed them.

This talk considers the social significance of cinema in London before the First World War, and uses statistical data, police reports, and the evidence provided by those children who, decades later, wrote memoirs or were interviewed by historians.

Speaker Luke McKernan is Curator, Moving Image at the British Library. A database he co-created on London ’s cinemas and the film business before 1915 can be found at www.londonfilm.bbk.ac.uk


Luke McKernan | talks


Date and Time:

19 May 2009 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Bishopsgate Institute
230 Bishopsgate
020 7392 9200

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£7, concs £5; advance booking required

Available from:

Call 020 7392 9220 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday or search for Bishopsgate Institute on www.WeGotTickets.com

Additional Information:

Bishopsgate Institute is two minutes walk from Liverpool Street station.

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