|Sir Harry Lauder|
4 August 1870
|Died||26 February 1950
|Known for||Music hall comedian & singer|
|Spouse(s)||Ann Vallance; 1 son (predeceased by both)|
Sir Henry Lauder (4 August 1870 – 26 February 1950), known professionally as Harry Lauder, was an international Scottish entertainer, described by Sir Winston Churchill as "Scotland's greatest ever ambassador!"
Henry Lauder was born at Portobello, Edinburgh, where the family lived, in the home of his maternal grandfather, Henry McLennan. His father was John Currie Lauder, descended from the Lauders of the Bass, and his mother was Isabella Urquhart MacLeod McLennan, born in Arbroath to a family from the Black Isle.
Harry's father John Lauder moved to Newbold, Derbyshire, in 1882 to take up a job designing china. John died of pneumonia a short while afterward and Isabella and her five sons and two daughters moved to live in her brother's home in Arbroath. Although it was customary for children to begin working at the age of 11 or 12, Harry's mother was determined to continue Harry's education. He worked part-time at the local flax mill until he was 16 which qualified to attend school there. The family later moved to the home of Isabella`s brother in Lanarkshire where Harry worked in the coal mines around Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
At age 21, Harry married Ann Vallance on 19 June 1891, the daughter of a colliery manager at Hamilton. His brother Matthew stood as his best man, and a year later, Harry served as Matthew's best man when he wedded Ann's sister, Catherine.
Lauder sang as he worked in the coal mines to help relieve the arduous nature of the work, and his fellow workers encouraged him to sing in the local halls. While singing in nearby Larkhall, he was paid for the first time a fee of 5 shillings. After more evenings singing in halls around Hamilton, he went to the weekly go-as-you please night held by Mrs. Christina Baylis at her Scotia Music Hall/Metropole Theatre in Glasgow. She advised him to gain experience by touring halls around the country with a concert party, which he did. This allowed him to quit the coal mines and turn to singing professionally. Lauder sang comedic and songs of Scotland and Ireland.
In 1905 his success in leading the Howard & Wyndham pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, for which he wrote I Love a Lassie, made him a national British star, and he obtained contracts with Sir Edward Moss and others. During 1911 he toured the United States where he commanded $1,000 a night. In 1912 he was top of the bill at Britain`s first ever Royal Command Variety performance, in front of King George V, organised by Alfred Butt. He was Britain`s best-known entertainer.
He toured the world extensively during his forty-year career, including 22 trips to the United States, for which he had his own railroad train, the Harry Lauder Special, and made several trips to Australia, where his brother John had emigrated. He was, at one time, the highest-paid performer in the world, making the equivalent of £12,700 a night plus expenses, and was the first British artiste to sell a million records. Lauder's music appealed to all, including workers, merchants, royalty and presidents.
His understanding of life, its pathos and joys, endeared him to all. Beniamino Gigli and others commended his singing voice and clarity. Lauder usually performed in Highland regalia (Kilt, Sporran, Tam o'shanter and twisted walking stick) and singing songs with a Scottish theme (Roamin' in the Gloamin' etc.).
When World War I broke out, Lauder was in Melbourne on one of his Australian tours. During the war, he led successful fundraising efforts for war charities, organised a tour of music halls in 1915 for recruitment purposes, and brought his piano to the front lines where he entertained the troops under enemy fire in France. Through his efforts in organising concerts and fundraising appeals he raised £1,000,000 to help servicemen return to health and civilian life, for which he was knighted in 1919.
He suffered personal tragedy during the war, when his only son, John (1891–1916), a captain in the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on 28 December 1916 at Poiziers. Harry wrote the song "Keep Right on to the End of the Road" in the wake of John's death and had a monument built for his son, who was buried in France, in the little Lauder cemetery in Glenbranter.
Sir Harry wrote most of his own songs, favourites of which were "Roamin' in the Gloamin'", "I Love a Lassie", "A Wee Deoch-an-Doris", and "Keep Right on to the End of the Road", which is used by Birmingham City Football Club as their club anthem.
He starred in three British films: Huntingtower (1927), Auld Lang Syne (1929) and The End of the Road (1936). He also appeared in a test film for the Photokinema sound-on-disc process in 1921. This film is part of the UCLA Film and Television Archive collection, however, the disc is missing. In 1914, Lauder appeared in 14 Selig Polyscope experimental short sound films. In 1907, he appeared in a short film singing "I Love a Lassie" for British Gaumont. The British Film Institute has several reels of what appears to be an unreleased film All for the Sake of Mary (c. 1920) co-starring Effie Vallance and Harry Vallance.
He also wrote a number of books which ran into several editions, including Harry Lauder at Home and on Tour (1912), A Minstrel in France (1918), Between You and Me (1919), Roamin’ in the Gloamin’ (1928 autobiography), My Best Scotch Stories (1929), Wee Drappies (1931) and Ticklin’ Talks (circa 1932).
Harry Lauder is credited with giving the then 21 year-old portrait artist Cowan Dobson his opening into society by commissioning him, in 1915, to paint his portrait. This was considered to be so outstanding another commission came the following year to paint his son Captain John Lauder, and again another commission in 1921 to paint Sir Harry's wife, the latter portrait being after the style of John Singer Sargent. These three portraits remain in the family's possession. The same year Scottish artist James McBey painted another portrait of Sir Harry, today in the Glasgow Museums. In the tradition of the famous British magazine Vanity Fair there appeared numerous caricatures of Sir Harry Lauder. Of the more notable is one by Al Frueh (1880-1968) in 1911 and published in 1913 in the New York World magazine, another by Henry Mayo Bateman, now in London's National Gallery, and one by Alick P.F.Ritchie, for Players, in 1926, today in the London National Portrait Gallery (ref:NPG D2675). In addition, Sir Harry was also a talented caricaturist of himself: one, dedicated to his grand-niece, Cecily Lauder (1925-1977), is shown in the biography Harry Lauder in the Limelight.
Sir Harry's wife died on 31 July 1927 and was buried next to her son's memorial at Glenbranter, Argyll. His niece, Margaret (Greta) Lauder, M.B.E., (1900–1966), moved in with him at his home, Laudervale (outside Dunoon), and became his constant companion in later years.
Sir Harry's final retirement was announced in 1935. However, he again entertained troops throughout Britain during World War II, despite his age, and made wireless broadcasts with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared immediately after the war to thank the crews of American food relief ships docking at Glasgow. His last years were spent in his home of Lauder Ha' at Strathaven, where he died in February 1950, aged 79.
As might be expected, his funeral was widely reported. One of the chief mourners was Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, who led the funeral procession and read the lesson. Sir Harry was interred with his mother and brother George at Bent Cemetery, Hamilton. 'Glenbranter' had been sold by him to the Forestry Commission, there being no son to succeed him.
On 28 July 1987, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, The Rt. Hon. John McKay, CBE, hosted a luncheon at the Edinburgh City Chambers, to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the granting of the Freedom of the City to Sir Harry Lauder, attended by family representative Gregory Lauder-Frost, who, on 4 August 2001, formally opened the new Sir Harry Lauder Memorial Garden at Portobello Town Hall, and was the principal commentator throughout the Saltire/BBC2 TV (Scotland) documentary entitled Something About Harry screened on 30 November 2005. On 29 September 2007, Lauder-Frost as guest-of-honour rededicated for another century the Burslem Golf Course & Club at Stoke-on-Trent, which had been formally opened on the same day in 1907 by Harry Lauder.
An ornamental cultivar of Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) has become known as Harry Lauder's Walking Stick or Corkscrew Hazel. It was noticed growing as part of a hedge in the 1800s and is now propagated by grafting. It gains this name from the fact Lauder regularly appeared with a crooked walking stick.
The song "Dearie" includes a reference to Harry Lauder.
- Sir Harry Lauder: 1870-1950
- "Sir Harry Lauder". Time Magazine. 1930-03-10. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
- Lauder-Frost, Gregory. "Biographical Notes on Sir Harry Lauder". Electric Scotland. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- "Sir Harry Lauder: 1870-1950". Special Collections. University of Glasgow.
- "Harry Lauder, coming to a ringtone near you". The Sunday Times. 2005-07-24.
- CWGC entry
- Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War - Volume III, p.530
- SilentFilm entry
- SilentEra entry
- BFI Database entry
- Morrison, McChlery & Co.,Glasgow, Catalogue of the Furnishings of Lauder Hall, Strathaven, May 1966, p.13.
- http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/STELLA/STARN/crit/WAGGLE/lauder.htm 0
- "List of Public Roads Q - Z". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- The Portobello Reporter, Autumn 2001 edition
- The Sentinel (Staffordshire) (newspaper), Stoke-on-Trent, 4 October 2007, p. 47 (includes photo).
- Great Scot!: the life story of Sir Harry Lauder, legendary laird of the music hall. by Gordon Irving, London, 1968 (ISBN 0-09089-0701).
- Harry Lauder in the Limelight by William Wallace, Lewes, Sussex, 1988, (ISBN 0-86332-312-X), which has a foreword and extensive notes by Sir Harry's great-nephew, Gregory Lauder-Frost.
- The Sunday Times (Scottish edition), 24 July 2005, article: "Harry Lauder, coming to a ringtone near you", by David Stenhouse.
- The Ancestry of Sir Harry Lauder, in The Scottish Genealogist, Edinburgh, June 2006, Vol. 53, #2, ISSN-0-3003-37X .
- A Minstrel in France, Hearst's International Book Company, London, 1918, by Harry Lauder about the death of his son.
- Lauder-Frost, Gregory. "Biographical Notes on Sir Harry Lauder". Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Roamin' in the Gloamin (Autobiography) by Sir Harry Lauder, (London, 1928), reprinted without the photos, London, 1976, (ISBN 0-7158-1176-2)
- "The Theatre Royal: Entertaining A Nation" by Graeme Smith, Glasgow, 2008
- Harry Lauder at the Internet Movie Database
- Harry Lauder at BFI Database
- A Celebration of Sir Harry Lauder, the Laird of the Music Hall
- Works by Harry Lauder at Project Gutenberg
- Harry Lauder cylinder recordings, from the Darrell Baker Collection Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara Library.
- Harry Lauder Archive
- Discography of Harry Lauder on Victor Records from the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings (EDVR)
-  Scottish Theatre Archive, Glasgow
- THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF CAPTAIN JOHN LAUDER (Ed Dixon)