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. This information can be accessed using the interactive London’s Silent Cinemas Map.

Other special features include a guide to the History of London’s cinemas, and online Exhibitions, including an in-depth view of Cinema and the West End, 1906-1930. London’s Silent Cinemas is intended as a resource for cinema researchers and teachers, historians and anyone interested in the early days of film exhibition in London.


London’s Silent Cinemas was developed at University College London by Dr Chris O’Rourke (now at the University of Lincoln), using research undertaken during a Research Associateship funded by the UCL Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects (CHIRP). The website was designed and built by Sam Nightingale. It was made possible by a Train and Engage bursary from UCL Public Engagement. The interactive map was created using DH Press. Development of the map was greatly aided by the European Research Council-sponsored training course ‘GIS for the Digital Humanities’ at Lancaster University.

Thanks to the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter, the University of Westminster Archives, London Metropolitan Archives and the Media History Digital Library for permission to reproduce images from their collections. All other images are from personal collections.

Please visit the Contact page to request more information.

Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects (CHIRP)