Chaplin (Sid) Archive

Subject strengths: Literature, Contemporary Literature, Social History

The papers of the local writer Sid Chaplin (1916-1986) cover the years 1930-1990 and relate to his writing career and other involvements throughout his life. His work strongly reflected his formative years in the pit villages of County Durham, his time in the coal industry and his other interests, particularly the history and culture of the North-East.

The material comprises typescripts of Chaplin's published and unpublished novels, short stories, poetry, plays and articles, television and radio drama, diaries and notebooks, newspaper cuttings, photographs and correspondence. There are typescripts and publisher's proofs for Chaplin's four full-length novels, as well as for his first publication The Leaping Lad (1946), which was to inspire a younger generation of writers from the industrial north of England who were to emerge in the late 1950s. There is also a range of material relating to the Alan Plater and Alex Glasgow stage musical Close the Coalhouse Door (1968), based on Chaplin's The Thin Seam and other stories, and many examples of the work Chaplin produced as reporter on the National Coal Board magazine Coal.

Among those represented in the correspondence are the BBC, various publishers, and other literary figures known to Chaplin, such as Basil Bunting, Norman Nicholson and Alan Plater. The collection also includes an oral history interview given by Sid Chaplin's widow, Irene, in 1999.

Collection Name and Collection Reference Code:

Collection Name: Chaplin (Sid) Archive

Archive Ref Code: GB186/SC

Date Range of Material

1841 - 1990

Type of Material

Personal archive of Sid Chaplin

Size of Collection

17.5 Linear Metres of shelving 

How To Order Items From This Collection

Please use the finding aid below to search through a list of the individual items we have within this collection.

If you find an item you would like to consult in the Special Collections reading room, simply make a note of the reference number and title of the item(s) you are interested in (for example SC/1/1/1 Typescripts of short stories).

You can then place your order by linking to our Request Form

Finding Aid 

Archival catalogue available via Archives Hub.

Unable to visit our Reading Room?

If you are unable to visit our reading room, we also have a virtual reading room service and a digitisation service archive and rare book collections.

Other Resources

Sid Chaplin's typewriter was featured in the Festival of the North East's History of the North East in 100 Objects and is on display on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson 

Other collections with family links to Sid Chaplin are Chaplin (Michael) Archive (his son).

Material from this archive was used in our Treasures of the Month feature for August 2014.

Projects, Progress and Updates

Further additions to the Sid Chaplin Papers were received in 2012 and 2013, which are currently uncatalogued. Please contact for further details.

See more digitised content from this collection at CollectionsCaptured.