Buckingham Movie Museum

Home 9.5 16 Multi-gauge 17.5 28 Pix Miscellany

 

BUCKINGHAM MOVIE MUSEUM

 

One of my great regrets was the closure of the Buckingham Movie Museum. For me, it was in many ways the embodiment of a dream - a place stuffed full of projectors, from the commonplace to the rare. I tried to make up in some part for the loss of the Museum, some years later, by initiating a display of narrow-gauge projectors as part of the Projected Picture Trust set-up at Bletchley Park and, indeed, here was an important influence on my own collecting. But I have never seen anything to match Buckingham, and I doubt I ever will; other Museums and, I fear, the general public, simply are not interested in projectors. I was hugely disappointed when, some time after the Museum closed and sold all its projectors to the National Film and TV Museum, I visited Bradford to see what they had made of this treasure trove.

The short and honest (and polite) answer is "bugger all". Only a handful of cine items were on display; far more space was given to still cameras, which leave me cold. As I have mentioned elsewhere, the entire collection was dumped in a huge warehouse on a military base deep in the Wiltshire countryside. It will never see the light of day again, as there will never be funding to study it all, even should anyone in the peculiar and unworldly world of museums wish so to sully themselves. So there lie the remnants of fascinating side alleys such as Ozophane (a system using very thin 16mm film and a projector with a velvet-lined gate), rarities like a Baby with generator, the ill-fated 9.5 Duplex system and hundreds of projectors large, small, practical, useless, sound, silent, curious, commonplace, old, new, of all gauges, and sometimes of several gauges at a time. A hobby that gave pleasure to countless individuals and families across three quarters of a century, and which inspired many to go on to great things in the film world, relegated to the dustbin of history for no better reason than that it is a thing of Science rather than (F)Art and so of no appeal to the pseuds of the chattering classes.

As you may have guessed by now, it makes me angry.

Colin Loffler came up with the brilliant idea of in some small measure recreating the Buckingham Movie Museum on my web site, using photographs held by Tony Reypert. I dont know much about its history, or that of John Burgoyne-Johnson who put the collection together, and John Pendred who assisted him (if anyone can provide, I will be happy to add). But I hope this will give some idea of what it was like, and maybe a hint of the influence it had on me.

I have also to declare an interest. Although the projectors went into the maw of Bradford, the films didn't. The 16mm and 9.5mm films were purchased by a hastily-formed consortium of me and Pat Moules. We discussed on the phone, then I went to John Burgoyne-Johnson (I always think of him just as JBJ) and made the deal, then packed my car to the gunwales with the films, making three or four trips, all on the same day, to get them home before JBJ had a chance to change his mind. There then followed a long and pleasurable period of checking films, deciding how many we could keep, and selling the rest on to fellow collectors at film fairs etc over the next 18 months. The 17.5, 28 and 8mm films went separately, tho by various devious routes I now own many of the 17.5 and 28m films. Cine is a small world.

Apologies if some of this takes a while to load - I didn't think thumbnails were helpful for the main pictures.

buckingham-movie-museumbuckingham-movie-museum

Here is the view up Fleece Yard in Buckingham with the front of the Museum, and the man himself, in a rather obviously posed picture. Further up the yard on the left are the premises of Buckingham Film Services, now also to leave due to planned re-development. The choice of Buckingham was down to John Shearsmith being the landlord, I guess.

 

buckingham-movie-museum Now to the real meat of the Museum. The premises were actually tiny and, as you can see. crammed from floor to ceiling with stuff. The front door was to the right, just in front of the 35mm machine seen in the right foreground. John Pendred is behind the counter of the shop part of the Museum - the things on the lower 4 or 5 shelves behind him are stock rather than Museum exhibits. Note the splendid array of packaging and other ephemera facing you on entry - I only developed an interest in this aspect of the hobby relatively recently; I'm glad someone was collecting it, even if we shan't see it again. Left can be seen 17.5 machines, to which we come in a moment.

buckingham-movie-museum

This shot is from behind the shop counter. On the island stand are the 17.5 machines and, beyond them, a KOK. You need to know this for the next shot, taken from the shop doorway; you can see the KOK spool on the right.

buckingham-movie-museum

Do I see an Acmiola, a Victor Animatograph and a Kodascope Model B? And I know there's an Ampro Premier lurking in that corner in the left background.

buckingham-movie-museum

I'm not at all sure where this shot is taken from. I can see a Kodatoy, a Lux, and the Ensigns are labelled by their spools.

buckingham-movie-museum

Not a vast amount in this one, so I've left it as a thumbnail. Behind the Baby is a Ditmar Duo.

 

I think this is a view from partway up the stairs, towards the entrance. You look out across a Vox (or S), a G Series Bolex, and an L516, and possibly a Revere. John Pendred hasn't moved far - this was normal.

buckingham-movie-museum

This next one is looking back in pretty much the opposite direction to the last shot. A Europ, a Princess complete with box, a Monaco in Duplex mode......

buckingham-movie-museum

 

buckingham-movie-museum

buckingham-movie-museumThis is a slightly lower version of the shot from the stairs, and another of some rare Baby items.

 

Continued in Part 2

Home 9.5 16 Multi-gauge 17.5 28 Pix Miscellany