Leslie Hardcastle

Leslie Hardcastle OBE, former Controller of the British Film Institute, Honorary President of the Soho Society and founder of Soho Housing Association, has died aged 96.

Hardcastle also received a BAFTA for his work establishing the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in 1988 which is now part of the BFI Southbank complex.

A long time Soho resident, he helped found the Soho Housing Association in the early 1970s to protect homes threatened by redevelopment. It now owns and manages over 800 homes in the area.

He passed away early on Tuesday morning.

His daughter-in-law, GaĆ«lle Denis, said she was ‘so sad’ to lose a ‘cultured, kind, and generous man’ and ‘a wonderful grandfather’.

The Soho Society, on which Hardcastle previously served as president, said it had lost ‘a great friend’.

It tweeted: “Our much loved Honorary President and great friend Leslie died early this morning.

“He did so much for our community and his intelligence, kindness and persistence will forever be a part of the Soho Society.”

Born in Croydon, Hardcastle served in the Royal Navy and then joined the BFI after a short stint in film production.

During his tenure as controller of both the National Film Theatre (NFT), he introduced the London Film Festival and oversaw development of NFT2

After stepping back as controller at South Bank he remained a consultant and then governor of the BFI, and worked a number of other projects including the restoration of Worthing’s Dome cinema.

In 2007, Hardcastle was awarded the Charles Roebuck Cup for his contribution to the film society movement.

Image: Richard Piercy.

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