Stan Laurel's letter to his friend's wife on Tyneside goes under the hammer

Comedian's letter to the wife of his North East schoolfriend is up for auction at Anderson and Garland in Newcastle

Stan Laurel's letter to the wife his childhood friend Arthur Miller, of Tynemouth, being auctioned by Anderson and Garland
Stan Laurel's letter to his childhood friend Arthur Miller, of Tynemouth, being auctioned by Anderson and Garland

A letter from comedian Stan laurel to the wife of his Tyneside childhood friend is to be auctioned in Newcastle.

The signed and dated note was sent to Margaret Miller in 1960 to her home in Percy Gardens in Tynemouth. Stan Laurel went to school with her husband Arthur.

The letter, on letterhead paper from Laurel’s address at 849 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California, is dated March 24 and thanks Mrs Miller for her belated Christmas card calendar.

The letter is being sold at Anderson and Garland’s Fine Art and Antiques sale on Tuesday 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. Stan’s family lived in North Shields and my father’s family knew them quite well.

“My father and Stan used to travel on the train together to King’s School, which was known as Tynemouth School back then.”

Stan Laurel comments in the letter on the calendar view of Tynemouth Pavilion, saying: “The oicture of the pavilion brought back many happy memories of my very early days – that was one of my favourite haunts, I used to often ride the sands on my pony, her name was Peggy.”

Laurel 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.

The pair went on to make more than 100 films together over the next 30 years, including the classic Duck Soup.

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 to him because he didn’t get to see it.”

By then, Arthur Miller had followed his father into the family business of Dickinson Miller solicitors, which is now Bond Dickinson. Her brother also went into the law firm, and when he died, the Laurel letter was among his belongings.

The letter, which comes with its original airmail envelope, is expected to sell for between £300 and £500.

Anderson and 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.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer