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.
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.’
Are the railings round the tomb to prevent body-snatchers and medical students getting in?
Or are they perhaps to prevent something Undead getting out?
For Halloween movie watching I recommend ‘City of the Dead’, first of many great horror films from my husband Milton Subotsky.
Crows now haunt the churchyard of St Giles, Camberwell.
Giles was a ‘wounded healer’ hermit saint, patron of beggars, lepers and cripples, and was invoked against the plague.
They say that this church was dedicated to St Giles because of the healing properties of the water from the Camber Well.
The entrance for Nessie the Camberwell Wyrm’s new lair has arrived, suitably called a Whitby Arch, after the whale bone arch through which one can see Dracula’s Abbey.
My next-door neighbour has kindly sent the following, from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’:
‘Out of the ground up rose As from his Laire the wilde Beast’