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Tramp & Caine: South London’s cinema icons

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Tuesday 15/03/2016

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Kennington Underground Station


Event Details

1931:  Comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977) sitting forlornly at the bottom of the steps in a scene from the film 'City Lights'.  (Photo by John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Tramp and Caine traces the flowering of popular twentieth century movie entertainment in South Central London. The walk navigates the streets around the Elephant and explores the hidden childhood stories of two of South London’s greatest Cinema stars. Beginning with the birth of cinema we follow Charlie Chaplin before he transformed himself into the little Tramp with the swinging cane; then revisit the Swinging Sixties through the memories of local icon Michael Caine.

Tramping carefully through the streets of SE17 we encounter Chaplin in East Street market, in the back streets and at London’s unique Cinema Museum, housed now in Lambeth’s old poorhouse, where he and his family were committed in the 1890’s. Then the walk detours off the Walworth Road to follow in the footsteps of Michael Caine.

In its heyday the area had nearly fifty cinemas showing all manner of films. From supercinemas to the smallest fleapit, a mecca for popular entertainment, as music-halls and theatricals metamorphosed into picture houses; and as silent films were superseded by talkies. Exploring these stars’ stories of rags to riches, this walk traces and recreates the up and down fortunes of South London’s Piccadilly Circus.

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