Sid Chaplin

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Not to be confused with Sydney Chaplin or Sydney Chaplin (actor).
Sid Chaplin
Born 20 September 1916
23 Bolckow Street, Shildon, County Durham
Died 11 January 1986 (aged 69)
Occupation novelist, essayist, screenwriter

Sid Chaplin (20 September 1916 – 11 January 1986) was an English writer whose works (novels, television screenplays, poetry and short stories) are mostly set in the North East England of the 1940s and '50s.[1]

Chaplin was born into a Durham mining family and worked in pits as a teenager.[2] In 1946 he won the Atlantic Award for Literature for his collection of short stories, The Leaping Lad. After another stint as a miner, Chaplin began writing full time for the National Coal Board magazine from 1950.[3] He later wrote for The Guardian, including theatre reviews, essays of social observation and, from 1963, his own column Northern Accent.[4]

Chaplin's literary career pre-dated the so-called angry young men genre but has been credited as an influence on the late 50s/early 60s "kitchen sink" social realism of writers such as Alan Sillitoe.[5] His 1961-2 novels The Day of the Sardine and The Watchers and the Watched have been cited as classics of "working class existentialism"[6] and were most recently reprinted by Flambard Press in 2004.[7]

In 1997, the Chaplin family deposited the bulk of Sid Chaplin's papers at Newcastle University's Robinson Library, Special Collections.

His son is Michael Chaplin.

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • My Fate Cries Out (1949)
  • The Thin Seam (1950)
  • The Big Room (1960)
  • The Day of the Sardine (1961)
  • The Watchers and the Watched (1962)
  • Sam in the Morning (1965)
  • The Mines of Alabaster (1971)

Short stories[edit]

  • The Leaping Lad (1946)
  • The Smell of Sunday Dinner (1971)
  • A Tree With Rosy Apples (1972)
  • On Christmas Day in the Morning (1979)
  • The Bachelor Uncle (1980)
  • In Blackberry Time (1987)