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Significant Scots
Sir Harry Lauder

Sir Henry Lauder (4 August 1870 – 26 February 1950), known professionally as Harry Lauder, was a Scottish entertainer, described by Sir Winston Churchill as "Scotland's greatest ever ambassador!"

Henry Lauder was born at Portobello, Edinburgh, in the home of his maternal grandfather, Henry McLennan. His father was John Currie Lauder, descended from the Lauders of The Bass, and his mother was Isabella Urquhart MacLeod McLennan, born in Arbroath to a family from the Black Isle. At the time, his father was also living in Portobello. John Lauder moved to Newbold, Derbyshire, in 1882 to take up a job designing china. After only a short time in residence there, he died of pneumonia, and his widow Isabella moved to her brother's home in Arbroath with her five sons and two daughters. She was determined to continue Harry's education so he worked part-time at the local flax mill until he was 16 in order to qualify to attend the school there. On 19 June 1891, Harry married Ann Vallance, the daughter of a colliery manager at Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, attended by his brother Matthew as best man. A year later, Harry served as best man at Matthew's wedding to Ann's sister, Catherine.

The Harry Lauder Show (16/03/1938)

Harry Lauder On holiday in the USA

Harry launched his career at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, Glasgow and is said to have first appeared in his music-hall career as an comedian. He toured the world extensively during his forty-year career, including 22 trips to the United States and several to Australia, to which his brother John had emigrated. He was, at one time, the highest-paid performer in the world, making the equivalent of 12,700 a night plus expenses, and was the first British performer to sell more than a million records. Lauder's appeal was not limited to popular tastes; he was a favourite of King Edward VII and a friend of Sir Thomas Lipton, the tea merchant. He is perhaps most well-known for his performances in Highland regalia (Kilt, Sporran, Tam o'shanter and twisted walking stick) and singing songs with a Scottish theme (Roamin' in the Gloamin' etc.). This image was possibly a major reason for his popularity abroad with Scottish emigres.

When World War I broke out, Harry was in Melbourne on one of his Australian tours. However, during the war, he led successful fundraising efforts for war charities, organised a tour of music halls in 1915 for recruitment purposes, and entertained the troops under enemy fire in France. He suffered personal tragedy during the war, when his only son, John (1891–1916), a captain in the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on 28 December 1916 at Poiziers. Harry wrote the song "Keep Right on to the End of the Road" in the wake of John's death and had a monument built for his son, who was buried in France, in the little Lauder cemetery in Glenbranter. For his services during the war, Lauder was knighted in January 1919. Winston Churchill stated that Lauder, " his inspiring songs and valiant life, rendered measureless service to the Scottish race and to the British Empire."

Sir Harry Comes To The End Of The Road (1950)

Sir Harry wrote most of his own songs, favourites of which were "Roamin' in the Gloamin", "I Love a Lassie", "A Wee Deoch-an-Doris", and "Keep Right on to the End of the Road". He starred in three British films: Huntingtower (1928), Auld Lang Syne (1929) and The End of the Road (1936). He also wrote a number of books which ran into several editions, including Harry Lauder at Home and on Tour (1912), A Minstrel in France (1918), Between You and Me (1919), Roamin’ in the Gloamin’ (1928 autobiography), My Best Scotch Stories (1929), Wee Drappies (1931) and Ticklin’ Talks (circa 1932).

Sir Harry's wife died on 31 July 1927 and was buried next to her son's memorial at 'Glenbranter', Argyll. His niece, Margaret (Greta) Lauder, M.B.E., (1900–1966), moved in with him at his home, 'Laudervale' (outside Dunoon), and became his constant companion in later years.

Sir Harry's final retirement was announced in 1935. However, he again entertained troops during World War II, despite his age, and made wireless broadcasts with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also appeared immediately after the war to thank the crews of American food relief ships docking at Glasgow. His last years were spent in his home of Lauder Ha' at Strathaven, where he died in February 1950, aged 79. Unexpectedly, Sir Harry was interred with his mother and brother George at Bent Cemetery, Hamilton, rather than at 'Glenbranter'.

When the A199 Portobello bypass was opened, it was named the "Sir Harry Lauder Road". On 28 July 1987, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, The Rt. Hon. John McKay, CBE, hosted a luncheon at the Edinburgh City Chambers, to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the granting of the Freedom of the City to Sir Harry Lauder, attended by family representative Gregory Lauder-Frost, who, on 4 August 2001, formally opened the new Sir Harry Lauder Memorial Garden at Portobello Town Hall, and was the principal commentator throughout the Saltire/BBC2 TV (Scotland) documentary entitled 'Something About Harry' screened on 30 November 2005.

Go To - TRIBUTE: Listen to some less well-known songs and a poem by Harry Lauder, at, 

See also Biographical Notes on Sir Harry Lauder
See also A Minstrel in France by Harry Lauder (1918)
See also Roamin' in the Gloamin' by Sir Harry Lauder (1928)
See also Ten Tales

See also Songs of Harry Lauder
See also Harry Lauder at Home and on Tour
See also Listen to some less well-known songs and a poem

John Henderson emailed in to say that in 1932, possibly to coincide with one of his "retirements", Sir Harry Lauder recorded new versions of many of his classics at the new Abbey Road studios of HIS MASTER'S VOICE. Included in this batch of recordings was this medley record in which Harry sings brief snatches of them all.

Attached is both sides of the record that I have joined up as one
compressed mp3

The ancestry & family of Sir Harry Lauder (1870-1950)
by Gregory Lauder-Frost, FSA Scot. (pdf)

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