Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Chaplin

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Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Chaplin (Hill)

Also Known As: "Lilly Harley"
Birthplace: Walworth,, Surrey, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Glendale, California, United States
Place of Burial: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles Frederick Hill and Mary Ann Hill
Ex-wife of Charles Spencer Chaplin, Sr. and Leo Dryden
Mother of Sydney Chaplin; Charlie Chaplin and George Wheeler Dryden
Sister of Kate Hill
Half sister of Henry Hodges

Occupation: Singer and actress
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Chaplin

Hannah Chaplin was the mother of Charlie Chaplin.

She was born Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Hill on August 6, 1865 in Camden Street, Walworth, London, the daughter of Mary Ann (née Terry) and Charles Frederick Hill. She became a Music Hall entertainer and used the stage name 'Lily Harley'.

On March 16, 1885 she gave birth to Sydney John Hill, later Sydney Chaplin. Later that year, on June 22, she married Charles Spencer Chaplin, a fellow Music Hall entertainer. Their son Charles was born in 1889.

She gave birth to George Wheeler Dryden on August 31, 1892 in London, son of music hall entertainer Leo Dryden. George was therefore the half brother of Charles and Sydney Chaplin. As a result of her adulterous relationship with Dryden, Hannah and Charles Chaplin, Sr separated soon after George's birth. Hannah became responsible for taking care of Charlie and his older brother Sydney, as George went to live with his father.

It was when Hannah's voice failed during a performance at 'The Canteen', an Army theatre at Aldershot in Hampshire in January 1894, that the young Charlie Chaplin, at the age of five, got his first taste of performing, when he went on as an unplanned replacement for his mother. This event was portrayed in the 1992 film Chaplin.

She became increasingly mentally ill and had a breakdown in 1895. In June 1896, Hannah, with her two sons Charles and Sydney, entered Lambeth Workhouse. Within a few weeks the boys were sent to Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children.

In 1898 Hannah had a mental breakdown, and Charles and Sydney went to live for a time with Charles Sr. and his mistress. Young Charles first appeared at this time with the Lancashire Lads. From May 1903 to September 1912 Hannah was in the Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum in Surrey. Charlie later wrote about a visit to see her in 1912:

"It was a depressing day, for she was not well. She had just got over an obstreperous phase of singing hymns, and had been confined to a padded room. The nurse had warned us of this beforehand. Sydney saw her, but I had not the courage, so I waited. He came back upset, and said that she had been given shock treatment of icy cold showers and that her face was quite blue. That made us decide to put her into a private institution - we could afford it now."

The brothers took Hannah out of Cane Hill and put her into Peckham House, a private asylum, but she was returned to Cane Hill Asylum in May 1915 when they defaulted on the 30 shillings a week payment. The Chaplin brothers brought her to California in 1921 where she was watched after until her death, in 1928. The Chaplin family held her funeral in the heart of Hollywood, at Hollywood's Memorial Cemetery, where Hannah Chaplin rests today, in a modest grave by the lake.

Her granddaughter, Geraldine Chaplin, portrayed her in the 1992 film Chaplin.


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Hannah Harriet Pedlingham Chaplin's Timeline

August 6, 1865
Walworth,, Surrey, United Kingdom
March 16, 1885
Age 19
London, England
June 22, 1885
Age 19
Walworth, Surrey, St. John's Church, United Kingdom
April 16, 1889
Age 23
Walworth, South London, East Street, United Kingdom
August 31, 1892
Age 27
Brixton, London, England
August 28, 1928
Age 63
Glendale, California, United States
Los Angeles, CA, USA