Chaplin family bid to save the cinema museum

Getty Images

Charlie Chaplin’s family, have written an open letter asking London, the Museum of Cinema to be saved.

The museum, housed in the former Lambeth workhouse where charlie Chaplin once lived, might be in danger when his contract expires next March.

The letter, signed by five of Chaplin’s children, says that they are “in difficulty” at the prospect of closure.

They add that the film star “the painful experience, who has done so much to mould our father unique creative gift.”

Katherine Ford, director of the museum board, said that the family are “big supporters”.

The letter is signed by Chaplin’s children Geraldine, Michael, Victoria, Annette and Jane.

The end of the Twitter post by @CinemaMuseum

In it, they say that their father was in and out of Lambeth Workhouse from the age of four years and, as such, “is not a celebration piece of the history of the family”.

As a result, they say, “were encouraged to see this building turned into a vital social and cultural centre for the area and for London”.

A petition has been set up to save the Cinema Museum, which is beneficial, it is run by volunteers and receives no public funding.

The museum houses a vast collection of film artifacts, and the Chaplin family describe as “the closest thing that Britain has a Chaplin Museum.”

The petition says that the owners of the building, to the South London and Maudsley Hospital Trust, are planning to sell the property, “which implies that we are able to be easily removed.”

More than 19,000 people have signed the petition so far.

According to the petition, the museum has put in a competitive bid for the property in partnership with Family Mosaic, part of the Peabody Group, a large housing association providing affordable homes and care and support services.

Getty Images

But museum supporters fear the offer might not be enough if the South London and Maudsley Hospital Trust, sells on the open market.

The Trust said in a statement: “As a public NHS body, it is our duty and for the purpose of selling these properties so that we maximize the value of these goods.

“This will allow us to invest in front line mental health services for the benefit of our service users in Lambeth and surrounding neighborhoods.

“The Trust is in favour of and support the aims of the Museum of the Cinema, and have encouraged potential buyers to bid accordingly.”


Chaplin was born in London in 1889, and has spent nearly a decade in and out of Lambeth Workhouse in Renfrew Road.

According to his family, the letter, the last time I was there was in 1903, when he was 14 years old. “He was able to take his mother there,” when he was suffering from an extreme mental disorder”. She was later transferred to an asylum, where he spent the rest of his life.

The silent film star left his life of poverty behind when he joined a theatre company and traveled to America in 1910.

He was spotted and signed to a film, go for a highly successful series of movies with characters such as his famous Little Tramp, a character inspired by his lack of education.

Follow us on Facebook, and on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion, email