London: A set of letters discovered recently has suggested that Charlie Chaplin may have been born into a Gypsy community in the West Midlands.
A friendly note from an octogenarian called Jack Hill, who wrote to Chaplin from Tamworth in the 1970s informed him that he was not one of south London`s most celebrated sons, but that he had entered the world "in a caravan [that] belonged to the Gypsy Queen, who was my auntie. You were born on the Black Patch in Smethwick near Birmingham," reports the Guardian .
Chaplin`s birth certificate has never been located and in the 1880s, the Black Patch was a thriving Romany community on the industrial edge of Birmingham, so it`s a possibility that he was a gypsy.
"It must have been significant to him or why would he have kept it?" his eldest son Michael speaks of the letter.
There are letters that evoke his bitter estrangement from America in the 1950s. There are reel-to-reel recordings of him improvising at the piano.
A cache of press cuttings details the British Army`s banning of the Chaplin moustache from the trenches of the First World War.
Other clippings indicate that, in the early 1930s, he considered returning to his homeland and entering politics.