Portrait of the Collection

SASE’s collection includes magic lantern slides, documentary films, newsreels, advertisements, and amateur films that reflect the changing nature of life and work across the South East from the 19th century to the present.

SASE’s region covers Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, Kent, Medway, Surrey and West Sussex and the majority of the collection reflects this geographical area. But the collection also extends across the globe through holidays and travels captured by film-makers from the region.

Key themes in the collection include early film-making in the region, family life, the seaside and leisure, rural life, public services, cine-club film-making, the Second World War, transport, working life and travel abroad.

[The Wedding Day] (1965)

Notable collections include:

  • the magic lantern’s representation of social histories and popular narratives from the 1850s to the 1920s
  • publicity material documenting the history of the seaside towns, including the Kent towns of Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate
  • rural films chronicling village and agricultural life including May Fairs, harvesting and hop picking
  • early adaptations of Dickens and Hardy made at the Shoreham Studio, 1919-22
  • ‘local topicals’ of Broadstairs in the 1930s by Enid Briggs – the largest single collection by a woman film-maker of the region
  • family films representing particular social rituals such as weddings, birthdays and Christmas
  • the Royal Sussex Regiment from the First World War to the Korean War
  • advertisements for cinema and television made for Shippam’s of Chichester
  • the Carousel collection of award winning learning disability-led arts films from Brighton
  • commemorations and celebrations initiated by Jubilees, Coronations, the end of the Second World War and the Festival of Britain


In association with the British Film Institute and the Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton & Hove, we have also assembled a unique collection of documents (e.g. catalogues, photographs and apparatus) on the beginnings of film-making and film exhibition from 1895 to 1914. This includes W. K. L. Dickson’s personal scrapbooks and material related to the Brighton School – G. A. Smith and James Williamson.