Iconic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy make this 1950s bride’s day in Sheffield

Iconic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy witn a bride at the former Sheffield Grand Hotel in March 1954.
Iconic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy witn a bride at the former Sheffield Grand Hotel in March 1954.

This is the moment world famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy surprised a bride on her wedding day in Sheffield in the 1950s.

The picture was taken by Eric Bellwood, who was one of city's most popular photographers of his time.

Eric was proud of the photo, and enjoyed telling his family about the meeting, including his son Michael and grand-daughter Rosie.

Rosie said she can remember her grandad, who died 15 years ago, speaking fondly about the occasion.

She said: “In March 1954, Laurel and Hardy visited the city to perform at the former Empire theatre and, by chance, made a bride’s special day even more memorable.

“It just so happened that, when the wedding party arrived at the former Sheffield Grand Hotel on Leopold Street, city centre, the two Hollywood stars where checking in.

“The official wedding photographer, Eric Bellwood, mentioned to the bride that Laurel and Hardy where in the entrance and asked if she would like to have a photograph with them.

“The bride was a fan of the duo and so Eric approached the stars.

“They where standing some distance apart and, in keeping with their status as comedians, they used this to their advantage, beginning a short, impromptu, performance for the amusement of the onlookers.

“Eric first asked Laurel if they would mind being photographed with the bride.

“He replied ‘ask Mr Hardy’. Eric walked over to Hardy, repeating the question, and was told ‘yes, if Mr Laurel agrees’, sending him back to ask Mr Laurel again.

“After a little more banter, Eric managed to arrange the photograph, with the beaming bride standing excitedly between the pair.

“It was at this moment that Eric realised Laurel was still wearing his iconic hat and, as etiquette of the day stated that when accompanying a lady a gentleman should remove his hat, Eric politely asked if Laurel would mind removing it.

“Laurel thanked Eric for his advice and removed his hat. Hardy then cheekily slipped his own hat on, and so began their second short performance of hats flying on and off for the joy of anyone watching until, eventually, Eric captured the perfect shot.”

Laurel and Hardy’s eight month tour of Great Britain and Ireland, which included a stop in Sheffield, is documented in a new film, Stan and Ollie, which is a biopic of the pair’s careers.

When Eric died in 2004 his photographic studio, Bellwood Photography, was taken over by his son, Michael Bellwood. He still runs the studio, based at 39 Rodney Hill, Loxley, today along with help from his family.

Other images from the studio’s archive can be viewed online using the official website at www.bellwoodphoto.co.uk.

Mike is currently trying to contact former clients whose weddings and portraits were photographed between 1977 and 2004.

Due to a recent re-location of the business, it is no longer possible for them to store all the thousands of negatives they have from this time period and so the family are making them available to customers.

If you are a former client of Bellwood Photography and would like to have the negatives of the photos of your occasions, please contact Mike for further details at mike@bellwood.co.uk.