Every Sunday we’ll pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage.
You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com.
But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…
100 Years of the Little Tramp
Even if you’ve never seen a Charlie Chaplin film, you’ll recognise the smudge moustache, the bowler hat, the outsized shoes and the comic walk, for Charlie Chaplin became the most famous comic actor of all time and every bit as big a star in his day as Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson. It all started here, in London. In this part of London – where Charlie Chaplin grew up. This walk, Charlie Chaplin in Lambeth traces the origins of his meteoric rise to become the world’s first global superstar.
In Lambeth we visit the pubs where Charlie Chaplin’s father performed as a Music Hall Entertainer until his decline into alcoholism, and we’ll stand on the very spot where, as a child, Charlie Chaplin watched wide-eyed and open-mouthed, as the elite of that theatrical profession, swaggered into those pubs from their swanky pony and traps. Charlie was entranced by their flamboyant chequered suits and ostentatious bling, and vowed to make this bewitching profession his own. Heartbreakingly, we also visit the workhouse where Charlie was separated from his mother when she fell on hard times and became unable to care for him. We visit the school Charlie Chaplin attended and hear about the agonies of being kitted out in cut down versions of his mother’s stage costumes and we see the very same buildings on the very same street corners where Chaplin loitered and did his best to pass the time of day when he had nowhere else to go. We hear how Charlie’s beleaguered family was obliged to move from place to place, but as we visit a string of Charlie’s childhood homes, in each we see sights and hear stories that were to come to back to life on the silver screen. Lambeth was Charlie’s great inspiration and the look and feel of Lambeth’s streets and landmarks appear again and again in his films. And when we finally meet (and hear) the poignant story about Charlie Chaplin’s first love, we are astonished how much the actresses he cast in his films remind us of her.
The walk ends at Oval Tube, and if you don’t instantly recognise the scene opposite as one from Charlie Chaplin’s most successful film, I’ll be sure to point it out. Guided by Jane.
To go on the Charlie Chaplin in Lambeth walk meet Jane just outside the exit of Lambeth North Tube on Sunday 29th November at 10:45a.m.
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.