Saturday, 28 August 2010

Stan the Man

Amazing collection of Stan Laurel pics found

by Tony Henderson
Evening Chronicle
Aug 27 2010

A UNIQUE family photo archive of slapstick comedian Stan Laurel has emerged on Tyneside.

More than 50 images, many of them never seen in public, will be sold by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland on September 7.

Most were sent by Stan to his sister Beatrice, also known as Bea or Olga – her middle name – and are of a personal and family nature.

It is expected that the collection will fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

The archive is being put up for sale by Olga’s granddaughter, who lives in Sunderland.

One remarkable set of seven pictures from around 1897 are thought to represent the first images of Stan acting.

They show scenes from a play written by a young Stan starring himself, elder brother Gordon and Olga in the back yard of their home in Dockwray Square in North Shields.

The pictures of the performance of the play The Rivals of Dockwray Square, are set to make £1,500-£2,000.

Stan and his family lived in Dockwray Square for four years. A statue of Stan marks the spot today.

The collection also includes a photograph of his theatre manager father Arthur Jefferson, and portraits of Stan and Olga as youngsters, taken by H J Thorne and Co, of Spencer Street, North Shields. And among the snaps are informal family pictures from Stan’s home in the United States.

He lived at Cheviot Hills in Los Angeles and there are pictures inside his house and of his new car.

Anderson and Garland’s Steven Moore said: “A lot of the material was sent to Stan’s sister, with notes and messages.

“They are private, family photographs of a famous star and they illustrate the personal life behind the famous face.“These are very rare photographs which people are not going to see anywhere else, and I think they will be of huge interest.”

Olga, or Bea, married Bill Healey, and the couple ran The Bull public house near Grantham in Lincolnshire.

One picture shows Stan and his Russian wife Ida behind the bar with Bea and Bill.

Another image, probably created to amuse Olga, depicts Stan as Mona Lisa.

It is inscribed by Stan with the words, “Mona Laurel. Love to Bea and Bill. From Mona.”

Other pictures show Stan and partner Oliver Hardy at events and on film sets. They played at the Newcastle and Sunderland Empire theatres in the 1940s-50s.
Stan’s father Arthur managed a string of theatres around the North East, including the Theatre Royals in Tynemouth, Wallsend, Blyth and Hebburn and the Eden Theatre in Bishop Auckland.

Stan went to school in Tynemouth, and the statue by South Shields sculptor Robert Olley was commissioned by Persimmon Homes for their Dockwray Square development.

More of the photos at:

1 comment:

  1. Great memories! They were one of my favorite teams. I would love to have those photos!