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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Stan’s daughter puts name on vintage hat

WHEN Stan Laurel’s daughter Lois came to visit the Hollywood Star’s Ulverston birthplace in 1979 she really needed a vintage bowler hat for the perfect picture outside Stan’s birthplace.

The hat, now more than 100 year old, was loaned by Olive Bayliff, 92, of the Abbeyfield House in Greystone Lane, Dalton.

It was returned to her with a message written in ink on the hat’s leather liner.

It says: “Love to Olive. God bless. Love Lois Laurel.”

The bowler originally belonged to Mrs Bayliff’s grandfather, Joe Rothery, who worked a smallholding at St Bees, in
Cumberland.

She said: “He never went out without wearing his bowler hat.”

Mrs Bayliff is a former nurse and her husband Harold was well known in Ulverston as a stockbroker based at County Square.

She got to know Lois during her visit to Ulverston and was able to provide the right hat when it was suggested that she wore a bowler, as made famous by laurel and Hardy, for press pictures at Stan’s birthplace in Argyle Street on June 12 in 1979.

Mrs Bayliff said: “She was a very lovely lady and very down to earth.”

A search in the Evening Mail archive came up with a picture of Lois Laurel wearing the bowler with the plaque on Stan’s house in the background.

The star had been born there on June 16 in 1890 as Arthur Stanley Jefferson.

He returned to visit his home town in 1947 and died in 1965.

His daughter, now Lois Laurel-Hawes is 85 and still maintains a website where she chats with fans of the Ulverston born star.

An Evening Mail report of the her visit in 1979 noted: “Stan Laurel’s only daughter, Lois, crossed the ocean and made a nostalgic trip to visit the small house in which her father was born.

“Attractive Lois Laurel, from Los Angeles, arrived at Ulverston for the very first time to be greeted by members of the Sons of the Desert, complete with bowler hats.

“The sons were headed by Grand Sheik Bill Cubin, who gave the daughter of one of the world’s funniest men a hearty welcome to Ulverston.

“She was swept off in a white vintage car to No 3 Argyle Street, the house in which Stan was born.”

Lois told reporters: “It’s a real thrill to see it.

“I have seen pictures of it before but it’s marvelous to be here.

“In San Francisco the homes are joined together like this.

“I’ve planned to come here for many years as Ulverston meant a lot to him, but things would come up.

“It was after I met Bill Cubin in Chicago that I decided to come.”

During her stay in Cumbria, Lois attended a meeting of the Sons of the Desert, a worldwide fan club for Laurel and Hardy, at the Farmers Arms in Lowick.

She also had time for a cruise on the lake at Windermere.

Her visit coincided with the filming of an ITV Clapperboard programme on British comedians which was to feature an
interview with Stan Laurel’s daughter.

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