The first book on Madeleine has just been published, a very detailed biography at an excellent price. Written by Derek Chamberlain following extensive research, it traces her life from early days in West Bromwich through her rise to fame, her dramatic choice to be part of the war effort and to her quiet days of retirement in Marbella, Spain.
“The Public” is a new kind of cultural building and a first class venue, located right in the centre of West Bromwich, where Madeleine Carroll was born.
They have just launched a tribute to Madeleine called the Madeleine Carroll Suite, which is immediately available for Conferences up to 200 people. Madeleine’s memorial is already in place outside the Centre, and it is fitting that such a tribute to her memory is now “live”.
On February 21st 2007, just 5 days short of Madeleine’s 101st birthday, a memorial to her memory was unveiled in her home town of West Bromwich.
The site for the memorial, right in front of the new multi-million Public Arts Building, was a very appropriate choice, as Madeleine would have walked past there many times in her younger days on the way to school.
The memorial was the brainchild of local Historian, Terry Price, and the unveiling was attended by local dignataries, including the Lady Mayoress. It was a privilege to be there as the Guest of Honour and despite the freezing weather, crowds turned up to be there.
The memorial is made of polished black marble, and features a profile of Madeleine with an inscription on the side detailing her career. I hope the photos and articles will give you a sense of how well it has been received by her home town, and of how proud they are of their most famous citizen.
Thanks to Terry Price, exact replicas of the medals awarded to Madeleine Carroll by the French (Legion of Honour) and the US (Medal of Freedom), are now on display in the Central Library in West Bromwich. Terry is behind a drive to have Madeleine recognized in her home town, and is the author of a recently published book entitled West Bromwich Memories”.
The book has a special section on Madeleine Carroll with some really interesting photographs published for the first time.
On Sunday September 24th 2006, I visited the Chateau for the first time and toured the house and gardens. It was fascinating to sense the presence of all those orphans who lived there all those years ago, and under such war conditions.
On Saturday September 23rd 2006, a new book on West Bromwich by Terry Price was launched in a packed Assembly Hall right across the road from where Madeleine Carroll was baptized. I was invited to speak about Madeleine and her connection with West Bromwich, and the feedback from many of those who attended the launch was spectacular, with stories of their connections with the Carroll family, and of Madeleine’s time in the local Grammar School.
Plaques have now been placed on both of the West Bromwich houses in which Madeleine lived from 1906 until 1923. The first is at 44, Herbert St, where she lived up to age 6, and the second at No 7, Jesson St, which she moved to in 1912.
A plaque has also been placed on the local Grammar School, which Madeleine attended from 1915 to 1923, and where her father was also a teacher.Newspapers carried articles about the launch, and also about the commemorative stone which is to be unveiled in November in the new West Bromwich Town Centre.
The unveiling of the obelisk is scheduled for November 2006.
The Exhibition in the Museo del Cine in Girona (Spain) in 2006 attracted visitors from many parts of the world.
Local publicity for the Exhibition
The exhibition ran from February to June and covered Madeleine’s life in two basic parts, the first being her Hollywood career and the second her dedication to the War effort, with a separate room given over to large mural photographs, letters, and stories about her work.She is remembered very fondly by local people, and I met with several of them, who actively supported the Exhibition.
Madeleine came first to the region in 1934, and bought a large Estate at a time when tourism was relatively unknown. She had immersed herself in the area, building a beautiful home which to this day is known as Castell Madeleine.
As well as the display featuring every one of her movies, with posters, videos, supporting photographs, the section dealing with Madeleine’s war effort was particularly interesting. Photographs of her work for the American Field Hospital in Bari, Italy.
Calonje Cemetery On February 26th, Madeleine’s centenary, I went to Calonge where she is buried along with her mother. Along with a small group of those who wished to remember her on that day, we placed a small bouquet of flowers on her tomb, and remembered her in the rain.
I have just been advised that a new book about West Bromwich by Terry Price, is to be launched on September 23rd 2006 in West Bromwich. It has a full chapter on Madeleine Carroll, together with images, several of which have never been seen before. I will be there for the launch, and look forward very much to meeting people with an interest in Madeleine’s career, particularly as she was born in West Bromwich. More detailed news to follow as soon as possible.
A monument to Madeleine has been commissioned, to be erected in the new Town Centre in West Bromwich. Measuring 2 m high by 1 m wide, the promoters are now looking for a suitable black and white marble to reflect her career in black and white movies. More news as soon as I receive it.