26 February 2020
Scottish entertainer Sir Harry Lauder died on 26 February 1950 in Strathaven.
On 26 February 1950 Sir Harry Lauder, the entertainer described by Sir Winston Churchill as 'Scotland's greatest ambassador', died at the age of 79. Sir Harry grew up in Lanarkshire, where he worked as a pit boy. His fellow workers recognised his talents and encouraged him to sing at local dance halls, where he was talent spotted by Christina Baylis of Glasgow's Metropole Theatre. His success encouraged him to give up the mines and he went on tour around the UK singing Scottish and Irish songs.
Sir Harry's son John was killed in 1916, during World War One, and is for his son that he was said to have written the song Keep Right on to the End of the Road. Sir Harry resumed his professional career after the war, touring the world as an entertainer for more than forty years, visiting the United States 22 times. At the height of his fame, he was said to be the world's highest paid singer, commanding a fee of £12,700 per performance, plus expenses.
He died at his Strathaven home Lauder Ha' at the age of 79 and one of the chief mourners at his funeral was the 14th Duke of Hamilton.
QUICK LINK: Crofting in the Hebrides is on the ascendancy