The Birth of Cinema: Robert Paul’s Forgotten Factory of Muswell Hill

In the 1890s, Muswell Hill had the most advanced film studio in the world.  Set up by British motion picture pioneers Robert W. Paul in a field in Sydney Road, the studio produced hundreds of films, some in expensive hand-painted colour. Ian Christie is Professor of History at Birkbeck College and has previously held roles as Professor of Film Studies at the University of Kent and Visiting Lecturer in Film at Oxford University.  In 2019 Ian Christie curated an exhibition of Paul’s life and work at Bruce Castle Museum, Animatograph! How Cinema was born in Haringey, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Paul’s birth.

Paul made about 800 films in his career, of which roughly 75 survive. You can see more by Ian Christie on his website on Paul at