Charles Spencer Chaplin was born on April 16, 1889, to Hana chapli at East Street Woolworth in South London.
His mother and father had married four years previously at which time Charles became the legal career of Hannah’s illegitimate son Sidney John Hill. At the time of his birth, Chaplin’s parents were both music hall entertainers.
Hannah the daughter of a shoemaker had a brief and unsuccessful career under the stage name Lilly Harley. While Charles a butcher’s son was a popular singer. Although they never divorced, Chaplin’s parents were estranged by around 1891.
The following year Hannah gave birth to a third son George Wheeler. Dryden fathered by the music hall entertainer Leo Dryden. The child was taken by Dryden at six months old and did not reenter Chaplin’s life for 30 years.
Chaplin’s childhood was fraught with poverty and hardship making his eventual trajectory. The most dramatic of all the rags to riches stories ever told.
According to his authorized biographer, David Robinson Chaplin’s early years were spent with his mother and brother. Sidney in the London district of Kennington, Hannah had no means of income other than occasional nursing and dressmaking and Chaplin provided no financial support as the situation deteriorated.
Chaplin was sent to Lambeth workhouse when he was seven years old. The council housed him at the central London district school for paupers which Chaplin remembered of her Lauren existence.
He was briefly reunited with his mother eighteen months later before Hannah was forced to readmit her family to the workhouse in July 1898.
The boys were promptly sent to Norwood schools, another institution for destitute children. In September 1898, Hanna was committed to Kane hill mental asylum.
She had developed a psychosis seemingly brought on by an infection of syphilis and malnutrition. For the two months, she was there. Chaplin and his brother Sidney were sent to live with their father, whom the young boy scarcely knew Charles senior was by then a severe alcoholic and life there was bad enough to provoke.
A visit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Chaplin’s father died two years later at 38 years old from cirrhosis of the liver. Hannah entered a period of remission, but in May 1903 became ill again.
Chaplin then 14 had the task of taking his mother to the infirmary from where she was sent back to Kane Hill. He lived alone for several days searching for food and occasionally sleeping.
Rough until Sidney who had enrolled in the Navy two years earlier returned. Hannah was released from the asylum eight months later but in March 1905 her illness returned this time permanently. There was nothing we could do but accept poor mother’s fate. Chaplin later wrote and she remained in care until her death in 1928.