Thorold Dickinson Collection

Scope and Content

The Thorold Dickinson Collection contains material relating to his work in Spain during the Civil War, for the Ministry of Information, the United Nations, the Slade School of Film, as well as for events he participated in, papers relating to film education, and personal papers. The collection includes scripts, screenplays and treatments, notes, press cuttings, reports, letters, films programmes, teaching notes, and conference papers. .It also includes an extensive collection of books and periodicals largely relating to different aspects of film making and film theory, as well as on poster design and the theatre.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thorold Dickinson was born in Bristol in 1903. Dickinson attended Keble College, Oxford, but departed from his studies due to his growing interest in film. In the 1920s he began assisting the director George Pearson, and gained a reputation for his strong editing techniques. By the mid 1930s Dickinson had begun making his own feature films, as well as films of a more documentary nature, such as Spanish ABC . During the Second world War he was appointed by the Ministry of Information to supervise as series of short military training and propaganda films. After writing his first book with Catherine de la Roche, Soviet Cinema, and making further films including The Queen of Spades, Dickinson was appointed Chief of Film for the United Nations from 1956-1960, and moved to New York. On his return to England in 1960, Dickinson was was appointed to work at the Slade Film Department, where he spent ten years teaching an interdisciplinary films studies course, and became the first professor of film in the UK. From hereon Dickinson wrote his second book, A Discovery of Cinema, and spent his time at conferences, as a jury member at numerous film festivals, and acting as advisor to improve film education internationally. He died in Berkshire in 1984.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. It is advisable to make a booking in advance.

Other Finding Aids

The catalogue is available in the reading room, and a hand-list is also available for books and periodicals. Books can also be searched for on the University of the Arts London library catalogue under 'Thorold Dickinson', limited to 'Special Collections'. See:

Custodial History

The collection was donated to Camberwell College of Arts in two parts in 1979 and in 1984. Camberwell College became a constituent part of the University of the Arts London (UAL) in 2004, and the Dickinson collection relocated to the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre in 2008. Part of Dickinson's archives were originally donated to the British Film Institute, who house 56 boxes of Dickinson's archive material.