MEMORY LANE: Laurel and Hardy paid a visit to Barkston 70 years ago

Laurel and Hardy at the Plough Inn, Barkston, in 1947.
Laurel and Hardy at the Plough Inn, Barkston, in 1947.
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Following on from last month’s recollection of Laurel and Hardy’s appearance in Grantham in 1952, the photo above recalls an earlier visit to the area in 1947.

They took time out from their busy three-week run at the London Palladium to visit Stan’s father and sister at the Plough Inn in Barkston, a pub run by his sister Beatrice Olga and her husband Bill Healey.

This was the first time that Stan had seen his 86-year-old father in 13 years, so it was quite a joyous occasion . . . and, yes, the Grantham Journal was there to record the happy event.

After their train journey to Grantham, Stan and Ollie had lunch at the Red Lion Hotel and played a short round of darts with local arrows ace Willie Gillison, before a taxi ride to Barkston, which was also recorded by the Grantham Journal.

Memory Lane has re-published a shot taken outside the Plough Inn previously, but the photograph shown here may not have been seen by readers before, and was submitted by Dave Tomlinson of the East Midlands branch of the Laurel & Hardy Appreciation Society – a picture from his own private collection and, as you can see, autographed by the famous duo.

The local branch of the Laurel & Hardy Appreciation Society, aka “The Sons of the Desert”, presents a monthly film show at the White Lion pub, Beeston, Nottingham, at 7.30pm on the third Wednesday of every month – it’s free and all are welcome to the show.

Also, on the Saturday afternoon of June 24, the Society will be presenting a free film show at the Bull Inn, Bottesford – another pub that Beatrice Olga and Bill Healey ran during the early 1950s and would be visited by Stan and Ollie during their later 1952 and 1953/4 theatre tours. Again, all are welcome to the screening.

Contact Dave Tomlinson at 01332-673685 or via email at for further information.