Boris Karloff, Local Boy

Karloff local

Yes, Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was a Camberwell boy, born William Henry Pratt, a name which gives a much less glamorous impression. He is best known for his role as the ‘Monster’ in Frankenstein films, and even at 5′ 11″ benefited from built-up shoes.

He had a part-Indian heritage which is perhaps why he was also cast as Imhotep in ‘The Mummy’ and later the evil Dr Fu Manchu and the detective Dr Wong –  Hollywood had a rather  elastic view of ‘Oriental’ maybe.

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Dr Lettsom of Camberwell: Physician and Naturalist

Lettsom pic ed

Dr Lettsom with his family at his large mansion with extensive gardens in Grove Hill,  Camberwell. (Image from Wellcome Collection).

Lettsom was interested in exotic plants, especially tea, of which he warned that for poor families the expense of a tea-drinking habit led  to neglect of better nutrition, and so:

‘Some at length have been so enfeebled, that their limbs have become distorted, their countenance pale, and a marasmus has closed the tragedy.’