Sidney Chaplin OBE. (20 September 1916 – 11 January 1986)
was an English writer whose works (novels, television screenplays, poetry and short stories) are mostly set in England’s north-north-east of the 1940s and 1950s.
From his earliest days Sid was well acquainted with the language of Northumbria. In 1930 he began work in a bakery, but subsequently worked at the Dean and Chapter Colliery in Ferryhill in 1931, was apprenticed to a colliery blacksmith in 1932, and then became a belt fitter underground. This experience stood him in good stead for his writing, beginning with short stories just after the war. As a writer for the National Coal Board he was enabled to hone his skill with words, leading to working for the Guardian, where he had his own column Northern Accent.
His work has been credited as influencing the ‘kitchen sink’ genre of social realism writers such as Alan Sillitoe and Stan Barstow, and the work of Alan Plater. He also contributed to When the Boat Comes In, a television series which portrayed the dialect and accent of the North East to the entire UK (though debate still rages about exactly what accents were portrayed.)
He was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in the North East.
Sid served as President of the NLS from its founding in 1982 until 1986.
The Leaping Lad (1946)
The Thin Seam (1950)
The Day of the Sardine (1961)
The Watchers and the Watched (1962)
The Mines of Alabaster (1971)
On Christmas Day in the Morning (1979)
The Bachelor Uncle (1980)
We acknowledge with thanks the generosity of Mrs Anne Swailes for permission to publish some of her personal papers related to the following.
Cast Photo, programme, and performer’s script for ‘The Sid Chaplin Show’ 1969 – here
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