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.