Laurel and Hardy
and the
Sons of the Desert
are at the heart of
Bowler Dessert Online

Stan's home in Tynemouth

Mike Jones reports

 

I was interested to see that the 'Disney Magic' was moored about 10 miles from where we live, on the River Tyne today. I had a look at various local news sites and noticed that there was some footage of her sailing right past Dockwray Square. I wondered how many of the rumoured 2,700 American guests on board would be aware of the significance of the location where, in my view, the best British product of their movie industry spent some of his formative years.

I've attached (below) a couple of screenshots which show the ship with the square in the background.

I have heard it rumoured - and it's on Wikipedia so it must be true(!) - that the steep steps from the square down to the North Shields Fish Quay provided Stan with the inspiration for The Music Box (and of course, Hats Off).

Stan lived at 8 Dockwray square from 1897 to 1901. In 1989 I was involved with Bill Cubin, Robbie Crawford and several others in the erection of a statue of Stan right in the middle of the square which is now a public park - Laurel Park. A plaque was also unveiled on the property (6-7 Dockwray Square) which now stands on the site of Stan's former home. This was on 29 March 1992.

The statue was beautifully restored to its former glory in late 2016, and an article on the project which includes some footage of the park and statue can be found using this link:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/see-how-comedian-stan-laurels-12113949.amp

More information on the plaque can be found on the 'Blue Plaque Places' website here:

http://www.blueplaqueplaces.co.uk/stan-laurel-blue-plaque-in-north-shields-1904

I would recommend a visit to Dockwray Square which can be found on the banks of the north side of the Tyne near the mouth of the river. The postcode is NE30 1JZ.