STAN VISITS HIS FATHER AND SISTER - MARCH 1947
The Journal cameraman took this happy reunion picture when Stan Laurel visited his father at Barkston. Seated are Stan Laurel, Mr. Arthur Jefferson his father, and Stan’s screen partner, Oliver Hardy. Behind them are Mrs. Ida Laurel., Mr Bill Healey and Mrs Beatrice Healey, Stan’s brother-in-law and sister.
Eighty-six years-old Arthur Jefferson waited patiently at the Plough inn at Barkston on Sunday. He had put on his best blue suit, and was waiting to welcome his son—a worldwide screen personality—whom he had not seen in person for 13 years.
It was a touching moment as the son, and his equally renowned and corpulent partner walked in. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy had arrived!
In this country to entertain the British public, Mr. Jefferson’s son, Stan Laurel, had travelled from London with his wife Ida, and his partner, and they were accompanied by Mrs. Beatrice Healey, his sister, and Mr. Bill Healey, brother-in-law, landlord of the Plough Inn. Mr. Jefferson last saw his comedian son 13 years ago, when he spent a year with him in America. He was overcome with joy at Sunday’s reunion.
“God bless you, Son,” he said.
“I’ll race you up the street for a pound,” quipped Stan.
Oliver Hardy was by no means out of the picture. He enjoyed every minute of the celebration.
Earlier the screen comedians arrived quietly at the Red Lion hotel, Grantham for lunch. But several youngsters soon got to hear of their presence and came autograph-hunting. They all got their idols’ signatures. With mannerisms and facial expressions absolutely as per their films, Stan and Oliver had lunch, but even the flash of the Journal cameraman’s photo equipment didn’t interrupt Oliver’s soup course.
Mr. Bill Batty, mein host at the Red Lion, and his staff, were introduced to the celebrities. A suggestion that they might be photographed at the hotel beer pumps was politely turned down on the score that a large proportion of their fun was for the benefit of children, but anything else—“It’s OK by us.”
Before departing for Barkston and the rendezvous with Mr. Jefferson, Laurel and Hardy caused roars of laughter with their comical expressions, antics and wisecracks, and as they entered the waiting taxi a final “so long!” was accompanied by the famed wiggle of Hardy’s fingers.
Many villagers, principally the younger ones, were outside the Plough Inn when the party arrived, and they saw Laurel oblige with that amusing characteristic—finger-tips in his hair—which accompanies his screen performances.
Inside, the fun reached its peak, and at teatime Mrs. Healey’s homemade pastry was particularly popular with Oliver!
Before returning to London the same evening the comedians joined with “the gang” in the Plough bar and issued plenty of challenges at darts.
They evidently absorbed more of the instruction they received on the Red Lion board from Mr. W. Gillison, well known Grantham darts player, at lunch time than most of those present had appreciated!
It was obvious that Mr. and Mrs. Laurel and “Babe” as Hardy was nicknamed, had enjoyed their visit.
On reaching London they sent a telegram to Mr. and Mrs. Healey: “Again, Thanks Dears for the wonderful visit. Can’t express fully our thanks. Arrived back an hour late but so happy we made the trip. Our best love to Dad, ’selves and all ‘The gang.’ Bye now and God bless”—Stan, Ida and “Babe.”
—The Grantham Journal
March 21, 1947