The grave of Stan Laurel’s mother is in another fine mess – but her great-great-granddaughter from California is about to fix it.
The actor, played by Steve Coogan in the film Stan & Ollie released last week, spent much of his childhood in Glasgow in the 1890s and his mother Margaret (Madge) Jefferson is buried in Cathcart cemetery on the south side of the city, near Rutherglen.
Her grave is unmarked and overgrown but Cassidy Cook, Laurel’s great-granddaughter and owner of the entertainer’s estate and archives, intends to change that.
She plans to visit Scotland this summer to pay tribute to Laurel’s Scots legacy and unveil a new headstone on his mother’s grave.
Ms Cassidy learned about the grave’s condition from Ross Owen, a Laurel and Hardy expert who was a consultant on the new movie.
Speaking from her home in California, she said: “At one time I believe there was a headstone – I have paperwork which suggests there was, but maybe over time it’s been destroyed or stolen.
“When Ross told me, I decided we would hold a lottery, where everyone can buy a ticket for $1, and the winner will receive a unique piece of memorabilia from our archives. I also hope the winner can be there on the day of the unveiling to place the headstone.
“I plan to turn it around quickly. I’m hopeful we can be there in the summer.”
Laurel’s mother was an actress and was often on the road, especially in his earliest years. As a result, he lived in his grandparents’ house, where he was also born, in Ulverston, Cumbria, while his parents were working away.
During their time in Scotland, the family lived on Buchanan Drive and he went to Rutherglen Academy, now Stonelaw High.
His mother suffered from ill-health and died aged 48, while his father, A J Jefferson, who managed the Metropole theatre in Glasgow, moved back down south and married again.
The trip to mark her great-great-grandmother’s grave will not be Ms Cassidy’s first to Scotland. She visited with her grandmother – Laurel’s only daughter, Lois, who died in 2017 – when she was a child.
“I came to Scotland when I was 12 and we spent three weeks going to different theatres where he performed, to his home, and I remember visiting a pub where his sister worked.
“I was quite young at the time, so I would like to go back and experience it again.”