Peter Jewell

College of benefactors 2010-11

Peter Jewell

Monday 12 July 11.30am

Peter Jewell was born in Barnstaple 75 years ago. Following National Service in the Suez Canal Zone, where he first met Bill Douglas, Peter’s career has been in social work. Following basic training at Southampton University he obtained his professional qualification from the London School of Economics in 1969. The first half of Peter’s career culminated as team leader in a London Borough and the second as a part-time Welfare Director in the voluntary sector.

Bill and Peter shared an enthusiasm for cinema (that led to his becoming a distinguished film maker) and subsequently a flat in Central London from 1961 to Bill’s death in 1991. In assembling their collection, now housed at the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture at the University of Exeter they set out to be as comprehensive as possible, embracing both the history, pre-history and folklore of cinema, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. They could not afford to be other than bargain hunters but it is notable that items which were acquired for pennies are already worth thousands!

The Bill Douglas Centre, which opened in 1997, contains both a public museum and an academic research centre, housing one of Britain's largest public collections of books, prints, artefacts and ephemera relating to the history of cinema. The Centre provides a research collection of international stature, illustrating the development of optical recreation and popular entertainment from the late 18th century to Classical Hollywood and the present day.