Monday, 10 September 2012

Where it all began...

Hello everyone, and welcome to another segment of Charlie's London! I hope you are enjoying the new site! We are settling in to our new home nicely and have paid the rent man, no moonlight flits for this South Londoner! By the way for those of you who do not know the meaning of a moonlight flit I will explain. In the times when our very own Charlie was a small street urchin this method of 'moving' was very common amongst the poor working classes in the London area. It literally meant what was said on the tin. You would gather all your belongings in the dead of night and leave! The next morning when your rent was due, the landlord would come to get his money and you would not be there; gone! You had flitted! Charlie moved several times as a small boy, Pownall Terrace the home he comments on the most in My Autobiography but I don't think, even in desperation his mother chose this method!

Anyone who has read my previous blog on Silent London will know that my Chaplin journey is a very personal one. Of course everyone has their own connection to Charlie and this is what makes him so unique. When he looks into the camera, big eyes staring back at you we are all made to feel its incredibly personal. Yet I feel both honoured and humble to be a South Londoner, just as he was! In My trip Abroad he mentions areas such as The Cut and speaks about the places of his childhood with such love and affection! I walk these everyday and have so many family stories connected to those exact same places he loved so dear! My uncle William Goodman (Harris)  was in the workhouse with Charlie, to this day we do not know how he ended up there! We also do not know why on some documents he is listed as Goodman (His mother's maiden name) and on others Harris (married name). This is the only photo that exists of him as a child, and we only have one as an adult.

                                   Charlie circled at the age of 7 in Hanwell Children's home. Above him, top row on the far left is little William Goodman (Harris) my great great uncle

Thank goodness the involvement of the London Workhouse was a distant family memory by the time I was born in 1982 in Guys Hospital Southwark. Guys Hospital sits just  beyond Borough Market and, according to the old maps and previous road situations of the area it is the beginning of the long road that would be famously known as The Walworth Road, a Chaplin haunt without a doubt! So to put it bluntly, I was born at one end and he was born at another!

Walworth Road in the 1920's

Charlie in 1921 returning home for the first time
since his success in America! His smile says it all to me!

Me at 3! The age I first fell in love with Charlie!
A love affair that would last my entire life!

This blog will look at Charlie from an angle like no other! It will look at his upbringing, his influences and his love of his homeland that never left him! It will look at my journey along the road of one of my favourite Londoners and my pursuit to remind everyone that even though the world claimed him as its own, he was a London boy first and foremost! His London is still very much alive! So ladies and gentleman please put your best walking shoes on, pull up your socks and join me for a walk around Charlie's London!

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