Lauder, Sir Harry

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Lauder, Sir Harry (1870–1950). Entertainer. A genial if thrifty Lowland Scot, initially a miner, Lauder progressed from amateur concerts to travelling concert parties and small music-halls before appearing at Birkenhead (near Liverpool) as an Irish comedian. Risking Scottish songs in London (1900), he soon became one of vaudeville's greatest box-office attractions, toured successfully in America and the empire, and tirelessly entertained the troops in both world wars (earning a knighthood, 1919). ‘The Laird of the Halls’ interspersed songs with patter, drawing on traditional airs to produce simple attractive lilts (‘I love a lassie’), and could carry his audience easily from trifles to more serious ballads. Lauder's exploitation of ‘quaint old Caledonia’ which prompted a nostalgic glow in expatriates was resented by young nationalists in later years, but in the Second World War he was president of the Scottish Regional Committee of ENSA.

A. S. Hargreaves

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Sir Harry Lauder

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