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Home of Charlie Chaplin’s wife up for sale

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Southcote's sturdy structure dates back hundreds of years and if its walls could speak they would tell tales of the birth of Charlie Chaplin's wife, Oona O'Neill, and the visits of American novelist George Washington Cable.

The old Bermuda cottage is steeped in a unique history that grew from its construction in the early 18th century as it has been passed down from generation to generation.

Now the Paget property is being offered for sale on the open market for the first time in its history.

“I was just 18 months old when my family moved in and I have fond memories of playing in the beautiful gardens,” Monica Jones, one of the property's co-owners, said.

“We had so much space and privacy and a strong sense of community too.

“There were always lots of children and playmates around, and animals too. My father always had a cow when we grew up. As children we were not really aware of its history, we knew it was an old house, but it gave me a real appreciation of beautiful and elegant buildings.”

In the 1920s Southcote was rented to several noteworthy visitors and Caroline Frith Smith's memoirs document a heavily pregnant Agnes Boulton, wife of the Nobel and Pulitzer prize winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill, renting Southcote in 1925. A week later, their daughter, Oona, was born and delivered by Bermudian doctor Bill Tucker, who was a Harley Street doctor, and one of the Queen's physicians. The family subsequently purchased Spithead Lodge in Warwick as their permanent Bermuda home, while Oona O'Neill went on to marry the US film star Charlie Chaplin.

Mrs Smith's memoirs also record Bostonian Henry Richards and his wife spending several winters at Southcote and its neighbouring property Fairmount. Mrs Richards was the daughter of Julia Ward Howe, the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Through the Richards family the American novelist, George Washington Cable and his family came to Bermuda for several winters and rented Southcote.

Mr Cable, a native of New Orleans, wrote novels concentrating on life in the South, with particular emphasis on racial equality and interracial relationships.

Ms Jones told The Royal Gazette: “It is hard from an emotional perspective putting the house up for sale, but I think it's time for another family to make their memories in this lovely house.

“It certainly played a big part in my childhood before I moved out in 1973 when I got married.”

An open house is being held at the house at 12 Southcote Road, Paget on Saturday from noon until 2pm.

Charlie Chaplin and his fourth wife, Oona O'Neill, who lived at Southcote
The beautiful Southcote is up for sale

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Published June 10, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 10, 2016 at 1:54 am)

Home of Charlie Chaplin’s wife up for sale

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