Plaque pique over comedy king Stan’s Battlefield roots

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy)  at the Caledonian railway station in Edinburgh 13/4/1954. The actors were on their way to stay at the Caledonian hotel whilst they were appearing at the Empire Theatre
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy) at the Caledonian railway station in Edinburgh 13/4/1954. The actors were on their way to stay at the Caledonian hotel whilst they were appearing at the Empire Theatre

History and culture chiefs are being ribbed for “another fine mess” after deciding to install a plaque at the one-time Battlefield home of Stan Laurel of famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.

The comedian was originally born in Cumbria in 1890, full name Arthur Stanley Jefferson, and after his family moved to Glasgow he appeared on stage at the Britannia Panopticon, aged 16.

But while he certainly lived for a time at number 17 Craigmillar Road in Battlefield he’s also known to have lived in Rutherglen, and also went to Rutherglen Academy.

However while some Ruglonians are thought to be displeased at the implicit idea that Stan was essentially a Glaswegian his dad, who also had theatrical blood, had managed the city’s famous Metropole theatre.

Once “Laurel and Hardy” became famous the pair visited Scotland frequently, and stayed at the Central Hotel in Glasgow - besides visiting Gleneagles.

They also regularly featured Scottish themes in their work, most famously in the movie “Bonnie Scotland” , in which they end up serving in a Scottish regiment on India’s North West Frontier.

Huge crowds gathered to welcome Laurel and Hardy to Glasgow every time they visited the city.

In 1961 Stan was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his incredible comedy career, which included involvement in around 190 films.

He retired to Santa Monica, California, for his final years.

Now he is one of 12 people to be honoured with commemorative plaques by Historic Environment Scotland, together with 18th century biographer James Boswell and Para Handy creator Neil Munro.

There’s also a plaque already installed at his original family home in Ulverston, Cumbria, where he was born.

Martin Fairley, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “The idea of the scheme is to allow the public to tell us which historic figures deserve to be celebrated and commemorated.

“By installing a plaque on a building closely associated with that person we hope to emphasise the social and human element of local architecture. After all, a building can have a great influence on the character of the person who lived or worked there.”