Thursday, 10 September 2009

'Charlie Chaplin' pub-opening 1965.

'South London Press' Friday 9th April 1965:


" The 'Charlie Chaplin' is a splendid name for the new pub at the Elephant," said the new Mayor of Southwark, Alderman Mrs. Francis Whitnall, when she opened it yesterday on the site of the old "Elephant & Castle".
Replying to critics who said that Charlie Chaplin was not directly connected with the Elephant, Mrs. Whitnall said: "Whatever you call it, there will be some people who disagree. This name will do a great deal for the tourist trade-especially Americans."
Charlie, who was unable to attend the opening, lived in East-st., Walworth, and spent his early years in nearby Kennington.
Mrs. Whitnall spoke of the "cosy atmosphere" of the pub- which has a cocktail and grill bar.
Main feature of the decor is a wrought-iron mural of Charlie Chaplin, made from metal springs.
The "Butts" a stone's throw from the "Charlie Chaplin", was opened on Thursday. This house, run by Nicholson's Catering Company, got its name from the ground it stands on which was used in olden days for archery.

Full story will appear on Tuesday.

"South London Press" Tuesday 13th April 1965:


The Hungarian artist, George Dereford, is waiting for South London-born Charlie Chaplin to come in for a pint at the new public house named after him at the Elephant so he can ask him what he thinks of the mural there.
"I only hope he will like it,"said Mr Dereford, who came to England 28 years ago.
Mr. Dereford went round scrap heaps to collect old iron for the mural. A metal sculpture runs the full length of the first and ground floors and is made from springs.
It epitomises the film "Modern Times" in which Chaplin depicted a little man caught up in a machine world.
The landlord is Mr. George Moles who since June 1963 has been manager of the "Belle Vue", Clapham Common. His wife said, "This is a big thing for us. We want to give the Elephant a new reputation. In the old days it was noted for roughs and dirty gin houses. This pub is plush and modern. "
There are cocktail and grill bars on the first floor and shoppers can walk into this part from the pedestrian concourse.
At the opening of the "Charlie Chaplin" on Thursday Mr. F. Watney said for the owners, "None of us feel that Charlie is going to be sentimental about the disappearance of the old Elephant and Castle which has made possible this splendid new development."
The leader of the new Southwark Council, Albert Gates, said, "I have been trying for years to convince people that Charlie Chaplin is a great name for the public house."
One of the three winners for a competition to find a name for the house was Mr. David Forester (23), an art teacher of 33 Athlone-rd.,Tulse Hill.
He won £25 and said at the opening, "I used the cash to study for another term at Goldsmiths College, New Cross."


  1. mishi
    brilliant. thanks for doing that, mate.
    i've taken a number of photos of the pub's exterior but not ventured inside. is the metal mural still there do you know?
    i'll pass this link on to interested parties. you may find yourself receiving a few extra visitors.

  2. It's not really a public site Jacko, although people are welcome to look at it. I only copied it because I know of your Chaplin interest.
    I have no idea if if it is still there, as I haven't been there for years, but I'd be surprised if it is.