Search

Gandhi Chaplin Memorial Garden opened in Canning Town

12:00 21 May 2015

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter Oona Chaplin and William Rhind from the Gandhi Foundation at the opening of the Gandhi Chaplin Memorial Garden

Archant

In 1931, two of the world’s most celebrated and influential men met in a house in Canning Town.

Schoolchildren celebrate the opening of Canning Town's newest green spaceSchoolchildren celebrate the opening of Canning Town's newest green space

Despite coming from completely different worlds, Mahatma Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin were brought together by a shared understanding of the struggles of the poor and the working classes.

Now the historic meeting has been marked with a specially created garden near to the site where it took place, a since demolished house in Beckton Road that belonged to a friend of Gandhi.

The Gandhi Chaplin Memorial Garden is the culmination of a community project on a disused piece of land between Chandler Avenue and Hayday Road.

There to witness its opening on Wednesday, May 20, was Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of the famous film-maker and a well-known actress in her own right, having starred in popular shows such as Game of Thrones and The Hour, as well as a number of films.

Pupils don bowler hats for the occasionPupils don bowler hats for the occasion

She said she was “really proud” to see the garden take shape.

“I love the fact that it’s right next to a highway, just reminding people in their cars that actually there is peace to be found,” she told the Recorder.

“It’s beautiful, I love the fact that there’s such a close connection with kids and with nature.”

The actress explained that the meeting was always in the back of her mind growing up.

The Gandhi mosaic at one of the entrancesThe Gandhi mosaic at one of the entrances

“There’s two meetings that I’ve always wondered about, one of them is the meeting with Gandhi and the other is a meeting with Einstein,” she said.

“The three most admirable men, in my opinion, and if only one day they had got in a room together. I wonder if they talked about the weather first, complimented each other’s amazing outfits and then got on to talking about how to save the human crisis.”

Gandhi was in Britain to attend a conference on Indian independence while Chaplin was promoting his latest film, but the meeting very nearly didn’t happen at all according to Gandhi Foundation outreach worker William Rhind.

“Gandhi got a message from Charlie Chaplin saying he wanted to meet and he said, ‘who’s this?’,” he explained. “So someone on his team explained ‘he’s an actor, you don’t want to see him, he’s just a clown’.

Oona Chaplin and William Rhind enjoy the gardenOona Chaplin and William Rhind enjoy the garden

“Then the person who was hosting him at Kingsley Hall in Bromley-by-Bow walked past and said ‘oh, but you’ve got to see Charlie Chaplin, Mr Gandhi. He’s the most famous person in the world, except for you, of course’.”

Pupils from Rokeby School, Ravenscroft Primary School and Kier Hardie Primary School, as well as Edith Kerrison Nursery School, donned bowler hats to mark the occasion and helped bury a time capsule.

Opening the garden, which was created in partnership with Groundwork London, the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “The story of Gandhi and Chaplin meeting is an extraordinary and inspirational one.

“However, it is typical of life in Newham where people from all different backgrounds come together. The aim of this garden is to provide residents with the opportunity to meet, share ideas, build friendships as well as inspire and influence the world.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories

33 minutes ago
Sadiq Khan announced the policy to boost community safety in London   Picture: Scot D'Arcy/PA Images

Every ward is to have two dedicated constables in a bid to strengthen community policing in the borough.

Sadiq Khan
15:00
(left to right) Wife Mary,  son Gary, Ron Jude, with sons Perry, Ron, Graham and Darren

The life of a well-known pub landlord and “larger-than-life” character will be remembered at his funeral next week.

14:01
Clinton Purcell

A man who stabbed a shop assistant during a 90-minute robbery rampage has been jailed for 10 years.

Snaresbrook Crown Court
12:32
Two betting shops in close proximity, Barking Road, Plaistow

The government must help protect high streets from problem gambling by cutting maximum stakes by 98 per cent, an angry Sir Robin Wales said.

Robin

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Read more
£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now