The day comedy legends Laurel & Hardy came to town in 1947

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy learning to throw darts with Willie Gillison at the Red Lion hotel in Grantham in 1947.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy learning to throw darts with Willie Gillison at the Red Lion hotel in Grantham in 1947.
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LEGENDS of comedy Laurel and Hardy were snapped in 1947 during a visit to Grantham and Barkston.

Stan Laurel was in the area visiting his 86-year-old father at the Plough Inn at Barkston. It was the first time father and son had seen each other in 13 years.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hady at the Plough Inn at Barkston in 1947. Laurel was seeing his father for the first time in 13 years.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hady at the Plough Inn at Barkston in 1947. Laurel was seeing his father for the first time in 13 years.

The reunion was an emotional event, with Stan’s father, Arthur Jefferson saying “God bless you, son.”

In response, Laurel quipped: “I’ll race you up the street for a pound.”

Before arriving in Barkston the comedy duo had checked-in at the Red Lion hotel in Grantham where youngsters who’d heard of the arrival were delighted to get treasured autographs.

The pair were taught how to throw a dart by notable town sportsman Willie Gillison, a man “whose prowess with the “arrows” is as notable as his efforts with the football and cricket ball”.

The pair “looked confused” and Gillison promptly threw his first dart into the bullseye.

The Journal reported: “With a polite tip of his hat and a scornful look Hardy backed away. “So long champ!” he said.”

Before leaving Grantham for their appointment in Barkston, Laurel and Hardy “caused roars of laughter with their comical expressions, antics and wisecracks.”

Pictured above in the family renuion photograph are (seated) Stan Laurel, Arthur Jefferson, and Oliver Hardy; (standing) Eda Laurel, Bill Healey, Beatrice Healey - Stan’s brother-in-law and sister.

l Do you have any mementoes or memories from the day Laurel and Hardy came to town? E-mail: comment@granthamjournal.co.uk or call the Journal on 01476 562291.