Our History

The Film & Television Charity can trace its roots back to the earliest days of the cinema industry in the early 1900s.

The cinema industry in the UK was fairly well established by 1913, with over 3,000 cinemas. It was, however, a fragmented industry that had sprouted up quickly. In the early days, the thousands employed in the cinema industry were on relatively low pay, even by the standards of the time.

By the 1920s, employers and philanthropists recognised the need to deal with the social conditions and, sometimes desperate, situations that cinema employees were facing.

In April 1925, the first meeting of the Cinematograph Trade Benevolent Fund took place in 33 Soho Square and the Fund received its very first donation – the proceeds of the Cinematograph Garden Party held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, which yielded the impressive sum of £2,551.10s.10d.

One of the first donors was cinema pioneer Sir William Jury. He not only made an early contribution to the fund of £1,000, but in 1935 bought Glebelands – a large country house in Berkshire – for the fund to use as a rest and convalescent home.

The great names in the British cinema industry – Delfont, Samuelson, Rank, Woolf – run through our history.

Today, we enjoy the patronage of Lords Puttnam and Grade, and the support of our most talented filmmakers and performers, including Sir Alan Parker, the multi-award winning director, and the Broccoli family, producers of the James Bond franchise.