About Me

Thomas “Tommy” Thompson

Peter Hallinan

I am Peter Hallinan. I am a Cinema Historian. For over 20 years I was a commercial property lawyer but ill health caused me to seek a complete change of direction. Having had a lifelong interest in film, in all its aspects, I took a Masters’ degree in “Film Studies with Film Archiving” at the University of East Anglia. For my dissertation I wrote about Thomas Thompson, my great-grandfather. In the family he had always been talked about with great pride and I grew up with stories about his life and achievements. It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I started to research whether the truth matched the family view. Luckily I soon found that he was a major force in early cinema exhibition in Britain and I continued to uncover more and more about his significance and involvement in the early days of cinema.

Following graduation I worked for six years as an Accessions Curator and Project Manager for the Imperial War Museum Film and Video Archive and for one project worked on a silent film collection, and suspect that many of the films may have been shown in Thomas Thompson’s cinemas.

I have started this site by reworking my Masters’ dissertation but am continuing to research and add more and more information about Thomas Thompson which is a fascinating personal story but also a window onto cinema, business, social circumstances, local history of the north east of England, and life in the early twentieth century.

I have made strenuous efforts to find copyright owners for images used in the site and their details are shown. If you believe that you are the copyright owner for any image or have other images that might suit the site, do get in touch.

If you have any comments to make on the site or contributions to offer or would like to link to this site do get in touch.