Stan Laurel’s letter to go under hammer

A letter from Stan Laurel to the wife of a childhood friend, in Tynemouth, which is due to go up to auction.
A letter from Stan Laurel to the wife of a childhood friend, in Tynemouth, which is due to go up to auction.

A letter from legendary movie comedy star Stan Laurel to a family of a childhood friend is going under the hammer.

The signed and note from one half of Laurel and Hardy was sent to Margaret Miller in 1960, 70 years after he went to school in Tynemouth with her husband Arthur.

The letter, on letterhead paper from Laurel’s Californian address, is dated March 24 and thanks Mrs Miller for her belated Christmas card calendar.

It is being sold at Anderson & Garland’s Fine Art & Antiques sale on September 16 and 17 by Mrs Miller’s daughter, also called Margaret, who is now 88 and lives in Hexham.

Margaret said: “My father and Stan Laurel were at school together in Tynemouth in the 1890s. Stan’s family lived in North Shields and my father’s family knew them quite well.”

Laurel, who was born in Ulverston in Cumbria in 1890, travelled to the US with a music hall troupe that also included Charlie Chaplin, where he performed during the First World War, before teaming up with comedy partner Oliver Hardy in the 1920s.

Miss Miller said: “My parents were going to the States on holiday and hoped to meet up with him. I don’t think they did, and I imagine that’s why my mother sent the calendar.

“I’ve only had the letter since my brother died, and it turned up when I moved house.”

The letter, which comes with its original airmail envelope, will be sold on the first day of the auction. It is expected to sell for between £300 and £500.

Anderson & Garland auctioneer Fred Wyrley-Birch said: “There is such a lovely story behind this letter, which is likely to add to the value of the piece when it goes under the hammer.

“We expect people interested in Stan Laurel’s North East connections, as well as autograph collectors, to be among the bidders. It may well create a bit of a frenzy.”

For more information, please visit www.andersonandgarland.com