The Projected Picture Trust

Welcome to the Projected Picture Trust

From the 1960s onwards, Picture Palaces were being boarded up, turned into bingo halls, split into multiscreens or razed to the ground for redevelopment. Projection equipment was being thrown into skips or sold for scrap. It was these developments that in 1978 led to the birth of the PPT by the then BFI Technical Officer, Charles Beddow. Convinced that much of Britain’s arts heritage would be lost forever, he successfully created a steering committee and the rest, as they say, is history.

Run by an eclectic mix of respected industry professionals and cinema enthusiasts, the trust boasts a world-class collection of cinema technology artefacts and a growing digital archive that will eventually become an accessible hub of knowledge for just about anyone interested in finding out more about this fascinating, if often overlooked, side of our much-loved business.

With an impressive portfolio of real-world expertise, ideas as grand as the films we screen and hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers, the PPT has the potential to become a world leader in the field of cinema technology preservation.

The PPT, has a base at Dean Clough Mills, Halifax where the majority of the equipment is stored and there are displays across the country. The PPT goes well beyond just collecting equipment. The trust has a huge range of working projection and sound systems and is able to provide the expertise to install and operate for events such as film festivals. Equipment can also be provided as props for film makers.

Preserving,  restoring, educating, informing, advising, supplying, displaying, exhibiting

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The Autumn edition of Rewind

Highlights of the PPT members' magazine for Autumn.

  • A new 35/70 magnetic sound system
  • Precious images: Kalee VistaVision projector
  • EVR: a video machine using film
  • Optical sound on film part 3: RCA pulls it off
  • The first Westrex 5000s
  • Cinema heritage: Paramount/Odeon, Liverpool part 2
  • The Regal Northwich
  • Omnimax in Copenhagen: Tycho Brahe Planetarium

Members can download this issue plus all issues from number 112 in the Member zone.

Join us

Thinking of becoming a member?

The Projected Picture Trust would love to welcome you as a new member.

As a member you would be free to participate in the activities of the trust in any way that suits your time and skills and meet others with similar interests. Or you don't actually have to do anything except have the satisfaction of knowing you are aiding the trust in its efforts to preserve the magic of cinema.

Members can participate in outings and visits, including those organised by the Cinema Theatre Association, access the Member zone on this website and have their say at the annual general meeting. They receive a copy of our magazine, Rewind, every three months and have access, via the Member zone of this website, to an archive of over ten years of Rewind.

Rates

Adult: £24 - receives one printed copy of Rewind.

Family: £27 - please note one copy of Rewind is sent to cover family membership.

E-member : £15 - receives Rewind in pdf format.

Student: £10 - receives Rewind in pdf format.

Overseas: £30 - receives one printed copy of Rewind.

Lifetime - under age of 65: £240 one-off payment Receives one printed copy of Rewind.

Lifetime - over age of 65: £150 one-off payment. Receives one printed copy of Rewind.

Members can download the interactive pdf versions of Rewind from the Members' zone.

Special online joining fees

Membership of the trust runs on a year by year basis with the year starting in May. Join online and your membership fee will be the usual annual amount but membership will run for the remainder of the current year plus the whole of the following year.

Paying by PayPal

Please join using the form on our  PayPal page

The PPT constitution can be viewed here.

President
Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE Hon FBKS

Vice Chair, Treasurer and PPT Coordinator for Elstree EUTC
Nigel Wolland MBE FBKS
30D Sycamore Grove,
New Malden KT3 3DQ
0208 942 3159
nw@theppt.org

Curator
Alex Cooper

07944 201984
ac@theppt.org

Restoration Engineer
Peter Allen
28 Greenways,
Bow Brickhill,
Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK17 9JP,
01908 366 355
pa@theppt.org

The post of Chair is vacant.

How the regions are located:

Discover the PPT

PPT activities

A brief pictorial of some of the recent trust activities.

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PPT flooded

Dion Hanson reports
On the morning of 16 August the water main into G-Mill at Dean Clough burst and flooded parts of the basement area, where the PPT is located, to a depth of 6". The problem was a split valve casting which is about 100 years old. The mains pipe is about 5" diameter. The water could not be turned off immediately as the stop cock was in the middle of the road and only the highways division could to do that.  The water was eventually turned off late at night and dehumidifiers hired to start drying the place out.

From the images you can see the old valve and the crack in the casting. Water pored down the steps towards our door along with a load of debris. There are lots of signs of wet flooring. The only things affected were on the floor in cardboard boxes otherwise we were quite lucky. When we built the shelving we put the bottom shelf several inches off the floor and surrounded the area with scaffold boards. These two factors probably saved a lot of damage and water ingress. Yorkshire Water said the valve is no longer manufactured and they had to modify a new metric one. Once dried out the flooring, which is chipboard in places, will have to be examined and possibly replaced.   

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Kalee Invicta restoration

In Rewind issue 170 Harry Rigby gives an account of his experiences with his home installation of a pair of Invictas. Back in 2012 the PPT restored a Kalee Invicta and this was the finished result.

The Projector Man

The late Jim Schultz is interviewed by the late Brian Megson in this video.

The Hyde Park Picture House

The Hyde Park Picture House is featured in the Projector Man video. The cinema is in the process of extensive restoration, details of which are shown on the cinema website at https://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/

Picture scrapbook

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Thanks for the memory

 From Brian Smith Stewart :

I first started as an apprentice projectionist in the family cinema in Edinburgh it was called the Salon in Leith Walk down from the Green's Playhouse, now a theatre. We ran two features alongside cartoons and regular news. We had a small box with two Kalee projectors, Peerless arcs, Bausch and Lomb CinemaScope lenses, a non-sync player with Western Electric sound system. House lights were a simple slide up and down system. The rectifier was on the way down the stairs with a huge mercury bulb. The Salon started in the days of silent movies as the old screen was still painted on the back stage wall. We had to run down to the back stage to pull the tabs by hand in the dark and the footlights were controlled there as well. If going to CinemaScope we had a large wheel to turn to drop down the top masking as the procenium was not large. Did the job. We were the "Westerns cinema" in Edinburgh - cowboys and indians non-stop. Sadly today, gone.

It's a dog's life

In the Autumn edition of Rewind Steve Rowley starts his account of restoring the first Westar 5000 70/35mm projectors from the Regal Leamington Spa. He had a willing assistant in Floss the puppy, whose main role was to ensure Steve's tools were conveniently close to hand. We asked Steve to assess how helpful Floss had been.

"She is no puppy, she is a monster and a thief. I was looking for my tools, they were all at the top of the garden with Floss looking after them! There were also three socks, two pairs of my wife’s unmentionables, a T-shirt and my metric Allen key set."

The PPT collection

The PPT has an extensive collection of cinema equipment, largely stored at its base at Dean Clough Mills, Halifax but some is stored at Elstree and at Duxford.

View gallery

Fred Fullerton videos

PPT member Fred Fullerton has produced a large number of videos over the years and we are grateful to Fred for allowing us to feature many of them here. 

Visit page

Rewind specials

These specials are versions of our Rewind magazine covering selected subjects produced for online viewing.

Our latest editions are Manufacture of Strong lamphouse reflectors, based upon a brochure published in the 1930s, and Can you stand-in, looking at the people working as stand-ins for film stars.

Click on an image to view/download. Not all browsers display pdf files correctly. You may prefer to download files and view in Adobe Acrobat viewer (downloadable here).

David A Ellis articles

David has provided a large number of articles, on a variety of subjects, for the PPT and the collection can be discovered by clicking the button.

View David's collection of articles

Other websites

  • The Cinema Theatre Association
    The Cinema Theatre Association was founded in 1967 by journalist Eric George, who wanted to draw attention to the magnificent "cinema theatre" movie palaces of the Twenties and Thirties that were beginning to disappear from our towns and cities.
    Since then, the Association has widened its horizons to encompass all cinema and theatre buildings, from the humblest converted hall to the most modern multiplex. 
  • London's Derelict Cinemas
    Here is a selection of redundant cinemas photographed since 2003. Some have been demolished, a few facades retained, whole buildings turned into churches and others remain pretty the same sorry state since first photographed. 
  • Plaza Stockport
    A very warm welcome to The Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre web site where you can find information about the North West’s home of Big Screen and Live Stage Entertainment here in the North of Cheshire, close to the heart of Manchester along with details of our Café, Hospitality and Events, latest news and of course updates on the Maintenance and Restoration of our Art Deco gem which has served her community for almost 90 glorious years. 
  • Cinema Treasures
    We’re building the world’s largest guide to movie theatres. We have over 54,000 movie theatres from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and dozens of other countries around the world. 
  • The Mad Cornish Projectionist
    The purpose of this website was always to be the first choices for anyone looking for anything relating to projectors or cinema. 
  • Film-Tech
    Looking for a manual on cinema equipment then look no further. 
  • The Projection Project
    The Cinema Projectionist is a digital archive and website that makes available online The Projection Project’s collection of research materials on the history of cinema projection in Britain. It has been developed by the Project’s team of researchers from the University of Warwick.
  • London's Silent Cinemas
    London’s Silent Cinemas explores the history of cinema exhibition in London from the emergence of permanent film venues in 1906 to the end of the silent film era around 1930. It documents the early lives of over 700 cinemas across London and its suburbs, using information gathered from local histories, city council records, film trade journals and directories, cinema programmes, street directories and historic maps and plans. 
  • Picture Palace a history of Liverpool Cinemas
    This is your ticket to meet the projectionists, usherettes, directors, actors, writers, musicians and all the cinema goers of yesteryear. 
  • British Pathé
    British Pathé is considered to be the finest newsreel archive in the world and is a treasure trove of 85,000 films unrivalled in their historical and cultural significance.
    Spanning the years from 1896 to 1978, the collection includes footage from around the globe of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, science and culture. 
  • Guardian Cine-files
    Guardian readers review the bricks-and-mortar cinemas they know best 
  • Mawgrim's Worlds 
    The musings and interests of an ex-projectionist 
  • History of the 35mm projector
    A YouTube video
  • London's Cinema Museum 
    Located in the Lambeth Workhouse, where Charlie Chaplin lived as a child, London’s Cinema Museum features artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the early days of movie theaters all the way through today’s modern multiplexes. In addition to every type of professional and amateur film projector in existence, there are various popcorn machines and cartons, Art Deco cinema chairs, and even old ashtrays.
  • The National Science and Media Museum Bradford
    At the National Science and Media Museum, in the heart of Bradford, we explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies and their impact on our lives.
    We aim to inspire the scientists and engineers of the future to see more, hear more, think more and do more.
    Our galleries and exhibition spaces help us illuminate world-famous collections in photography, film and television. Our team of Explainers create learning activities that fuel the imagination and get under the skin of our collections and exhibitions. And our three cinema screens—including an IMAX theatre—allow us to showcase the magic of moving images from around the world in Bradford, the first UNESCO City of Film. 
  • China National Film Museum
    The China National Film Museum boasts itself as being the world’s largest professional film museum. It was first built to serve as a memorial to the birth of China‘s film industry 100 years ago, with the building demonstrating how the industry has developed over this time. 
  • German Film Museum
    One of six film museums in Germany, Frankfurt’s German Film Museum stands out due to its commitment in film education and its close interaction with the wider film culture. Artists regularly work with the museum to create new films, and the history of film comes to life within the museum for example in the replica of the Grand Café, which documents the Lumière brothers’ screening in 1895, and replica film studios and special effects demonstrations. Permanent displays explore the technological aspects of cinema and the effect that film produces. The changing displays are wide ranging, with the thematic cinema programs, seasons and premiers regularly gaining widespread attention. A comprehensive museum which looks to the past to inform cinema’s future. 
  • The Hollywood Museum
    When thinking about film, one place springs to mind. The Hollywood Museum houses a 10,000-strong collection of memorabilia from America’s film and television history. While there are a number of museums in and around Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles region, this is the official museum which, with over four floors of displays, houses the most extensive collection, as well as a comprehensive history of Hollywood and the walk of fame. The costume collection includes hundred of items, including Marilyn Monroe’s famous million dollar dress. If you head down to the dungeon you can also see sets from cult horror and thriller films. Situated within the Max Factor building, it is also an important part of the architectural history of the region.
  • The Museum of Cinema, France
    For fans of European and French cinema in particular, this is simply unmissable. For fans of architecture, too, this Frank Gehry building is worth making a beeline for when you are in Paris. The Museum of Cinema holds one of the world’s largest collections of films, movie documents and objects relating to the cinematic art form. The screening rooms attract cinephiles from across the world, with multiple retrospectives, spotlights on up-and-coming directors and changing film seasons appealing to even the most discerning film watcher. The film library is the perfect place for film lovers to while away an afternoon or ten. 
  • The National Museum of Cinema, Italy
    A museum, but not in the traditional sense. The National Museum of Cinema sets itself apart as a significant institution in the development and study of world cinema due to the wide-ranging work that it does for the scientific and educational aspects of cinema. The exhibitions cover technology, genre, different types of film crew, as well as objects of interest, and a multiplex. It is situated within one of Turin’s major landmarks, the Mole Antonelliana, and it is the tallest museum in the world. The Swiss set designer François Confino created a space which offers visitors continuous and surprising audio and visual stimuli. If you can get tickets, it is particularly worth visiting as part of the Turin Film Festival.

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