Our Archive

The Cinema Theatre Association maintains an extensive archive which has grown steadily since its inception in 1967.The Archive records the changing architectural, social and cultural history of cinemas of the United Kingdom from the 1880’s onwards and being an active contemporary archive, also covers the latest cinema buildings.

Within the holdings of the Archive are special collections donated by or acquired from leading architects, industry figures and companies as well as personal collections and researches which often represent a lifetimes work. With a particular focus on history, architecture, design and operation, the archive is an essential resource for anyone interested in cinemas.

Exploring the Archive Collection

The collection includes photographs, drawings, architectural plans, newspaper cuttings, magazine and internet articles, books, posters, programmes, industry documents and artefacts. Within the holdings are special collections donated by leading architects and cinema companies as well as personal research collections which represent a lifes work.

Making an enquiry and visiting us

The Archive is open to everyone whether or not you are a member. Firstly please complete the enquiry form and we will advise whether we can supply the material to you directly or invite you to visit to carry out research in person

Volunteering at the Archive

The Archive is entirely run and maintained by volunteers. Volunteering can be very interesting and rewarding experience. We are always looking for volunteers to come perhaps once a month to help file, organise and sort the collections, deal with enquiries and undertake special projects we particularly need.

Donating to the Archive

We welcome donations large or small from the public or the industry, relating to cinemas, cinema industry and individuals as well as cinema going. We also encourage individuals to leave the Archive material in their Will to ensure it reaches us.


Over many years, items have been saved or donated from various cinemas and theatres around the UK. The Archive now has space to exhibit many of these artefacts contained in its collections for the first time.