Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society

The glorious days of Scottish Music Hall and Variety Theatre

30 Years - The History.

 

30 Years – From the Archive…...

By Derek Green

For the past few months, I have been spending time going through the previous Committee Meeting minutes from the Archive of the Society.  Sadly from October 1994 up until September 1997 the minutes are missing from the Archive but the good news is that in 30 years of existence we have minutes for 27 years.  If anyone does have minutes from 1994 – 1997, please let me know and copy can be returned to the Archive.  I thought I would give you all a wee insight into some business of the Society recorded in the minutes from 1979 until 1994.  More will follow.  I personally would like to dedicate this article to the memory of Miss Audrey Bullen, a founding member of the Harry Lauder Society and view it as tribute to a lady who worked very hard to set up the Society which still exists 30 years on.

November 1979 saw the Harry Lauder Society being founded in Portobello.  Our Hon. President was Mr Jimmy Logan and our committee was comprised of Miss Greta Lauder Fraser, (great niece of Sir Harry Lauder), Vice Chairman was Mr George Flockhart, our Secretary was Miss Audrey Bullen, and  Treasurer was Mr Ken Falconer, Manager of the local Bank Of Scotland.  The Committee Members elected were: Miss Joan Balfour, Mr James Cowie, Mr Gordon Irving, Mr Howard M Lockhart, Mrs John Hamilton and retired Chief of Police Mr William Merrilees.  At the first AGM On the 7th November 1980, all of the above were proposed and seconded to manage the Society.

In 1981, it was reported that the membership had grown in size and that members of the British Music Hall Society had also joined and that we had taken out a membership with the BMHS and that our activities would be mentioned in their ‘Call Boy’ magazine.  ‘81’ also saw the Society staging various Jumble sales to raise funds and the proposal of Christmas cards being introduced to help funding and a member called Mrs Watt would be asked to undertake the design.  Mr Colin Stirling was co-opted onto the Committee and the idea of having their first Lauder Dinner on week commencing 3rd August was discussed. Bill McNeill’s programme was broadcast  with the Merrilees, George Flockhart and Audrey Bullen and when aired on the radio, this helped to gain new members.  Later in the year, The Harry Lauder  Dinner was reported as a great success with Howard Lockhart as the main speaker and Gibby Sutherland and Robert Pollock providing the entertainment .  The Dinner raised the sum of £10.00 for the Society.  The Committee discussed the idea of their first exhibition about Sir Harry and which would be part of the ‘Sir Harry Lauder Festival’ which, later that year was staged and was minuted as being a great success.  Also in this year, the Committee discussed the idea of the first Bus Run to Glen Branter and Ardentinny  The 1981 AGM was to look into a proposal for a Sir Harry Lauder Tie using the McLennan Tartan. The closing balance in the bank was £173.56.

During 1982, the Jumble sales had raised £23.00 for the funds and after due consideration, the ideas of Christmas cards and Ties were scrapped.  The Committee discussed the idea of taking part in the ‘Sir Harry Lauder Festival and of staging another exhibition as part of the festivities.  An evening function was organised and booked on ‘Lauder Day’ , the 4th August and Howard Lockhart was once again asked to be the main speaker.  In this year, a further £90.00 was raised for the funds.  The date for the Ardentinny trip was set for 5th September and the Society had raised the sum of £28.50 from the proceeds of the raffle at the Barbecue in June.  Audrey Bullen reported that she had applied to the DR. Overseas of the Scottish Tourist Board for grant Aid to help publicise the Society.  The STB had pointed out that the Society would have to write to the BTA.  Gordon Irving was also giving the Society ‘Good publicity’ in the Australian press.   A Society newsletter would now be introduced and would be published in June and November.  The AGM in November announced that Mr Howard Lockhart, well known broadcaster and friend of Sir Harry would become our first patron.  The membership stood at 38 members.  Greta Lauder Fraser reported that the Exhibition, Dinner and visit to Ardentinny had all been a great success.  The closing account balance was £215.20.  8 of the members also visited “Misty’s” a new entertainment complex in Portobello.  The Sir Harry Lauder Lounge Bar complete with photographs of Sir Harry really impressed the Committee.

In 1983, the first Committee Meeting of the year was held in Miss Bullen’s shop in Portobello High Street.  Sir Harry Lauder’s Supper Night would be held on 4th August at Misty’s, supper at 7 for 7.30 followed by film 9-10 pm and afterwards a cabaret.  The Committee also looked into a tree named after Sir Harry.  Sadly, in this year, occurred the sudden death of Miss Audrey Bullen, secretary of the SHLS and  Miss Greta Lauder Fraser paid tribute to all the hard work Audrey had done as Secretary of the Society.  Mrs Connie McVey was co-opted onto the Committee to take over the Secretarial duties.  New members were also voted onto the committee over the year and they included Mrs Christine Rankine and Mrs Betty Sibbald.  The Society also paid tribute to Miss Bullen’s work in the Portobello Advertiser. 

From the minutes

“Lauder Tribute to a Loyal Fan”

“I’m pleased to learn that a fitting tribute is being paid to Miss Audrey Bullen who helped found the Harry Lauder Society and, until her untimely death last month, was its secretary.  A film “The Road from Portobello” tracing Sir Harry’s footsteps along the road to stardom, has been dedicated to her memory by its producer, David Trigg.  It was through her enthusiasm that the Society’s membership has become world wide with Jimmy Logan as it’s Honorary President”.

Finally, the 1983 AGM opened with Miss Greta Fraser expressing her sadness at the loss of Audrey and stated that in memory of Miss Bullen, she would like the Society to continue and keep going as long as it could.   The accounts closed with a balance of £176.42

In 1984 it was agreed that the annual subscriptions for overseas members would be raised to the sum of £5.00 and UK members to £4.00.  The Annual Lauder Lunch as part of the Lauder Festival was booked for   1st August  and went ahead with Mr Jimmy Logan as the Guest Speaker, after which he would officially open the exhibition at 2.30 pm.  Additions to the Committee that year were Miss Jean Brian and Mr Alex Bryce.  The Society also staged a Social/Concert and ‘Lauder’ tapes would play on guests’ arrival and the “Sounds Scottish” concert party were to come and entertain all the members and friends.  During the year Miss Joan Balfour resigned from the committee and an appreciation for all her hard work was published in Newsletter Edition 10.   Sadly, in this year, the Society also had to announce the death  of Mr William Merrilees.

The 1984 AGM announced the loss of three members, Mr W Merrilees, Joe Whitely and Denis Shipwright.  Thanks went to Betty Hamilton for her excellent articles in the “People’s Friend” and Ken Falconer for all his good works as Treasurer.  Mr Gordon Irving approached the Committee and asked if the name of the Society could be changed to “The International Harry Lauder Society”, although this was agreed that it was a good title, the Committee agreed to keep the name as it was.  Lord James Douglas-Hamilton was thanked for his most interesting article on Sir Harry which was published in the “Edinburgh Evening News” and the Accounts for the year closed at £260.09 plus 9 Dollars. 

In 1985 the membership stood at 80.  In this year, Jimmy Logan appeared in “Highway” from ‘Lauder Ha’ and through this, Harry Secombe became a Life Member.    At the 1985 AGM  (held in the Secretary’s House) it was reported that there was a tremendous amount of correspondence coming into the Society.  The Annual Concert early in October was reported to have been a great success.  It was agreed that a Seat in memory of Audrey Bullen would be sited in Portobello.  The Annual Dinner on 4th August had again been a great success.  It was reported that one Member was writing to many District Councils to ask for an official “Lauders Day” every 4th of August to celebrate the birth of Sir Harry.  So far this had been rejected by most Councils.  The accounts closed at £433.05.

In 1986, there was considerable correspondence about the possibility of the Society being advertised at the Commonwealth Games but when looked into, it was discovered that the Society would need to sponsor the Games and this was not a viable option.  Also In this year, the Society suffered the sad loss of Vice Chairman Mr George Flockhart and Committee Member Mr Alex Bryce.  In the 1986 AGM, the membership total stood at 91 members.  In this year Jimmy Logan had starred in “Lauder the Musical”.  The Annual Accounts at the 1986 AGM closed at £342.99

1987 saw the Society stage another Annual Concert in Strathaven where tremendous effort was put in from the “Wavelength” Group.  In This year, Mr Howard M Lockhart MBE sadly died.  This was a quiet year from the minutes.  The Annual Accounts closed at £439.05.

 In 1988, the Society staged their Annual Concert in the Town Mill Theatre, Strathaven.  Special thanks were extended to the “Wavelength Concert Party” and the “Stonehouse Male Voice Choir” for their hard work and efforts in making the show a success.  This AGM saw a big change on the Committee.  Miss Greta Lauder- Fraser stood down as Chairwoman after 8 years and Mr George Gillespie was voted into the Chair.  Mrs Chris Rankin was re-elected Vice Chairwoman , with Mrs Connie McVey being re-elected as Secretary. 

From the Minutes:

Mrs Connie McVey read out ”In recognition of Miss Greta Lauder’s dedication, loyalty and hard work, I suggest as a token of the Society’s esteem that a new post be created, namely Hon. Vice – President, and that Miss Fraser be given this honour, also that she be made a life member”.  This was agreed.  The Annual Accounts closed at £569.69.  Lord James Douglas- Hamilton was announced as a Patron of the Society.

1989 additions to the Committee were Mrs Jean Sutherland, Mr Ian Russell and Mr Archie Foley.  The proposed Annual Dinner was to be held on 7th October 1989, preceded by the AGM at 6 pm. This Dinner would also mark the 10th Anniversary of the Society.  In this year a Social Sub Committee was formed and the AGM Annual Accounts closed at £486.81

1990 was a very quiet year due to Mrs McVey moving house and the functions would be left until she was settled into her new home.  Society Members had dropped to 60 in total.  Subscriptions rose at the AGM to £6.00 UK and £8.00 overseas.  The Annual Accounts closed at £335.05.

In 1991, additions to the Committee were Mr W Howat and Ms Peggy Crossar.  Arrangements were made for the Society to become affiliated Members of the Strathaven Arts Guild.  The AGM Annual Accounts closed at £442.91.  Again a quiet year recorded.

1992 saw George Gillespie retire from his role of Chairman and Archie Foley being elected as the new Chairman with Mr Bill Howat being proposed as Vice Chairman.  At this meeting it was agreed that the Society would issue a press release for new members.  The Annual Accounts closed at £556.21.  Additions to the Committee were Mrs Isobel Ballantyne, Mr James H Littlejohn and Mr Jim Pratt from Aberdeen, was also co-opted onto the Committee in December 1992.  The Society announce in their press release that they are incorporating Scottish Music Hall and Variety, past, present and future.

1993 records a concert booked in Strathaven on 3rd April and the Lauder Trail Bus Run being arranged for 4th August. The press release has been sent to all the newspapers and Scottish magazines “Scottish Field” and the “Scots Magazine”.  The Concert in Strathaven is reported to have done very well.  A social evening is proposed for 18th June 1993 and Mrs Betty Clarkson has agreed to be speaker.  In this year the newsletter was increased to four copies a year.  New members recorded were Mr Bob Bain, Mrs Betty Clarkson, Mr Ronnie Coburn and Mr Jim Haselup .  At the 1993 AGM Mr Ken Falconer resigned as Treasurer after 14 years of loyal service on the Committee.  The Annual Subscriptions were increased this year to £8.00 UK and £10.00 overseas.  The Annual Accounts closed at £599.11.  In this year Mr Jimmy Logan appeared in the King’s Theatre Edinburgh with the “Fabulous Fifties” show.

In 1994 Mrs Connie McVey retires form her position of Secretary and Frank Bruce is voted in as Secretary.  Total membership stands at 85.  The Society hold a lunch in tribute to Mr Ken Falconer and Mrs Connie McVey for all their hard work and Long Service to the Society.  The Lauder Lunch is held in Strathaven.  A Plaque to Sir Harry is sited in Portobello Town Hall and Members are notified that the name of the Society is to change due to flagging numbers.  The new name will be The Scottish Music Hall Society incorporating the Sir Harry Lauder Society.  The Society decided to produce a book on the Scottish Music Hall researched and written by some of  its members. The book was to be called “Those Variety Days” and the chapters would be written by: Archie L Foley, Frank Bruce, Helen Murdoch, Bill Abbot, George Gillespie, Betty Clarkson, Billy Crockett, James Pratt, Billy Cameron, June Don Murray, Gordon Irving, William Fyfe, Ron Coburn with John Moore, George Johnstone and a Foreward by Sir Alistair Dunnett.  The Annual Accounts closed at £597.58

The following now covers the period from 1995 until December 2009.  I would like to dedicate this to some stalwarts of the Society, who over the years gave us  their knowledge, guidance and expertise. This article is dedicated to past Hon President Mr Jimmy Logan, Past Chairman Mr George Gillespie, past Hon Vice Chairman Helen Randell and all our members who are very much still in our memory.

The records for 1995 are missing, in this year the Book “Those Variety Days” was written and Myra Gilroy joined the Society.  Bob Bain was voted in as Secretary at the AGM at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.  Membership numbers were dropping and currently stood at 68 members.  The Committee planned to stage a big exhibition in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch.

In 1996 the Society announced at their AGM that their membership numbers had been boosted from 68 to 113 members.  The exhibition in the Auld Kirk Museum was a great success and attracted over 1500 visitors.  In this year Derek Green joined the Society.  Bill Howat resigned as Vice President and the committee recommended Gordon Irving to fill the vacancy.

In 1997, Derek Green and Myra Gilroy were co-opted onto the Committee.  At the 1997 AGM, Bob Bain reported that David Todd’s talk on the Edinburgh Festival Theatre had been very successful.  The Society exhibition, “Those Variety Days” had been a tremendous success at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.  The exhibition ran from 21 Feb – 29 March and was extended by the Concert Hall to 7 May.  The Exhibition was then taken to Summerlee Museum for the month of August and an event was held at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. In  this year, the Committee planned  Exhibitions for 1998 in the Mitchell Library and in Summerlee.  Myra Gilroy also proposed the first Annual Glasgow Lunch for February 1998.  The accounts closed at £2738.  Membership stood at 145 members.  In this year the Subscriptions rose to £9.00 UK and £11.00 Overseas.  Archie Foley stood down and Colin Calder was proposed as Chairman and Betty Clarkson as Vice Chair.

In 1998 the book “Those Variety Days” was published and the book launch was held in the Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow.  In this year George Gillespie resigned from the Committee.  The first Annual Glasgow Lunch was very well attended.  The Society exhibition “The Good Old Days” was staged in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow and received a record 4728 visitors over the six week run.  Membership increased from 143 to 187 members.  Accounts for this year closed at £2692.

1999 was a busy year.  In this year The Committee decided to honour a celebrity for their services to Scottish Showbusiness at every Glasgow Lunch.  The first recipient of the honour was Gordon Irving.  The Glasgow Lunch was recorded as a great success.  Judith Bowers and Bruce Peter staged two talks for members of the Society   The Society staged their first Variety Show produced by Derek Green and Directed by Bill Green in the Piping Centre.  On the bill was Jimmy McWilliams, Jim Cuthbert, Derek Green & The Gang, Gladys Chucklebutty, Terry Daly, Alexander Morrison, The Starlite Dancers and star guests were Jack Milroy and Mary Lee.  24 Members from the Society visited the King’s Theatre, Glasgow to watch a live performance of “News Huddlines”.  Also in this year  the Committee had Lunch with Ken Dodd,  the Annual Bus trip to Culzean Castle, the Edinburgh Lunch was a great success and the membership increased from 187 to 217.  The Accounts closed at £3656.  Charles Innes resigned from the post of Treasurer.  Derek Green was voted into position of Treasurer. 

In 2000, the Society staged two Variety Shows, one in the Eastwood Theatre and the other in St Brides Centre, Edinburgh.  Anne Fields was honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  Colin Calder stood down from the role of Chairman and Myra Gilroy was elected into the position.  The Society put a single web page onto the Internet and donated £250 to the Lauder Memorial Garden in Portobello.  Society members visited the Aberdeen Tivoli Open Day, where Derek Green performed his Lex McLean sketches and Gladys Chucklebutty also did a stand up spot at the Open Day.  Members from the Society visited Pitlochry Theatre to see Hon President Jimmy Logan in “Lauder”.  Nancy Smith resigned from the Committee and the post of Archivist was filled by Colin Calder.  Another successful Edinburgh Lunch was organised by Betty Clarkson.

In February 2001, the Society Honoured  Mr Jimmy Logan at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  In the same month the Society very sadly announced the passing of Jack Milroy.  Jack was a very staunch supporter of the Society and its aims.  Two months later the Society very sadly announced the death of Hon President Mr Jimmy Logan. This was a great loss to the Society because Jimmy had a very strong and guiding hand in the progress of the Society. For that year another Variety Show was staged starring Alexander Morrison, John Shearer, Helen Randell, Derek Green &The Gang and the Honeybirds at Eastwood Theatre and raised £1000 for Erskine Hospital.  There was also a visit to the Waltzing Waters at Newtonmore.  At the 2001 AGM Johnny Beattie was voted in as Hon President of the Scottish Music Hall Society and as a mark of respect, Angela Logan Short and Mary Lee Milroy were made Hon. Life Members of the Society.  The Membership now stood at 245 members and  Iain Gordon, Manager of the Pavilion Theatre Glasgow was made an Hon Life member of the Society.

In 2002, Hon President Johnny Beattie was honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.  The Society staged “Those Variety Days” in aid of CHAS.  A bench is donated in memory of Hon President Jimmy Logan and placed outside the front door of  Pitlochry Festival Theatre.  The Committee have concerns over the performance of the Society due to lapsing members.  Betty Clarkson arranged another successful Edinburgh Lunch.  The Annual Bus trip that year wass to the Theatre Royal Dumfries.  The Society also visited Weston Super Mare for the National Festival of Music Hall and Variety Theatre.  The Committee go into planning a National Music Hall and Variety Theatre Festival to be presented in Scotland in 2005.  A sub committee is formed with Myra Gilroy, Bob Bain, Derek Green and Bill Green.  The Committee plan a big exhibition for Motherwell Heritage Museum from October to December.  Membership stood at 264.

In 2003, Mary Lee Milroy was honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  Bob Bain announced to the Committee that membership was dropping and that he was receiving more and more  requests about information for Scottish Variety Theatre.  It is then agreed to put out a proposal to the membership to change the name to the Scottish Music Hall and Variety Theatre Society.  The Society staged their Variety Show starring Peter Morrison accompanied by Peggy O’Keefe, Helen Randell, Clowns International, Derek Green & The Gang, Jimmy McWilliams and the Starlite Dancers.  Members and friends visited Blackpool in March to see Ken Dodd at the Grand Theatre.  The Constitution was made more concise as to what the Society is now doing.  At the 2003 AGM the new proposed Society name is ratified.  The Edinburgh Lunch was a success in November.

In 2004, Tom and Jack Alexander were honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  In this year the death of Past Chairman George Gillespie was announced.  John Shearer staged a very interesting talk on Magic for members and friends in the Central Hotel. That year another visit was made to Weston Super Mare for the 2nd National Music Hall and Variety Theatre Festival.  The Society received a letter stating that the old Town Mill Theatre in Strathaven where the Committee used to have meetings was  hopefully to be refurbished.   Members visit Perth Theatre for the Annual Bus trip to see Oliver.  In this year Helen Randell was co-opted onto the Committee of the Society and  Bob Bain and Colin Calder take part in the first “Societies Day” in Kirkintilloch.  The Welsh Prince Of Laughter – Wyn Calvin became a member of the Society.  Sadly In this year the Society recorded a minutes silence for Sam Henderson, Jimmy Hill, Frances Watt, Robert Brown and Jimmy Mack.  Myra Gilroy stood  down from Chair and Betty Clarkson stood down from Vice Chair.  Derek Green was voted in as Chairman and Helen Randell as Vice Chair. Membership stood at 276.  Gordon Irving resigned from Hon Vice President.

2005 saw Joe Gordon and Sally Logan being honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  Derek asked Committee for updates on the Scottish 2005 National Music Hall and Variety Theatre Festival.  Bob reported some problems still existing.  It was agreed to scrap the idea.  Derek proposed a restructure of the roles of the Committee.  The Summer Bus trip was to Purves Puppets in Biggar.  The Society announced an exhibition to be staged in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.  Bob Bain guested on the Bill Torrance show on Saga Radio.  Committee badges were introduced.  All Committee Meetings will now take place in Glasgow.  The new Society website is published. The Society put out a press release to all newspapers advertising the Concert Hall Exhibition.  Mary Lee Milroy was proposed as New Hon Vice President.  2005 sees a Joint membership introduced for members.  Other trips in this year were a visit to the Museum Resource Centre and Aladdin at Perth Theatre. Membership dropped from 276 to 240.  The Accounts closed at £2331.

2006 saw Ronnie Coburn MBE being honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  There was a large increase in Membership from 240 to 300 members.  Nancy Mackay and David McIntyre were Co-opted onto the Committee.  In this year the Annual Bus trip was to St Andrews, two talks were staged for members and the Accounts closed at £4276.  The subscriptions rose to £12.00, £14.00 and £18.00 for Joint Membership.  In this year  Members celebrated Johnny Beattie’s 80th Birthday at the Annual Edinburgh Lunch where he was presented with a gold pocket watch from the Society.

In 2007 Fay Lenore was honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch and Betty Clarkson at the Annual Edinburgh Lunch.  The Society agreed to take part in the Bute Festival by staging an exhibition in the Rothesay Pavilion.  Clare McLeod staged two talks, one on the King’s Theatre  and the other on the Theatre Royal for members in the Central Halls.  The Annual Bus trip was to the newly opened Perth Concert Hall.  Hon President Johnny Beattie and Society member Bill Pertwee both received MBE Honours from Her Majesty The Queen.  Sadly the Society lost members Bill Abbot and Bobby Sandilands.   The Accounts closed at £3866.

In 2008  Gerard Kelly was honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch   The Society staged a big exhibition “Twice Nightly, Twice Brightly” in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch which was opened by Vice President Mary Lee Milroy.  Members and friends visited the newly re-opened and refurbished Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline on the Annual Bus trip.  Members visited the Glasgow University Theatre Archive.  The Society had pleasure in announcing that they have secured an area in Kelvingrove for a Pantomime Exhibition starting on 22 November.  The exhibition would be opened by Hon President Johnny Beattie.  In this year the Society sadly announced the death of  Vice Chair Helen Randell after a long illness.  At the 2008 AGM, Nancy MacKay was voted in as Vice Chair and the accounts closed at £4666.  Anne Fields was presented with a gift for celebrating 60 years in Showbusiness.  In this year Eileen Marshall was co-opted onto the Committee.

2009 saw Irene Cormack honoured at the Annual Glasgow Lunch.  Membership breaks all records in this year and stands at 325.  Bill Gourlay and Talisman films present a talk to the Society on the Opera House Dunfermline.  Derek and Bill Green plan the 30 th  Anniversary Celebration for the Society in the Millennium Hotel.  The evening consists of a Dinner followed by Guest Speakers Hon President Johnny Beattie MBE and Wyn Calvin OBE O.StJ.  Chris De Rosa and the Art Of Illusion are booked as the cabaret and the band Scallywag to dance the hours away.  The Annual Bus trip to Purves Puppets, gets as far as Stonehouse due to engine failure and all members attending are ferried back to Glasgow by Taxi.  The Society support the Pavilion Theatre in the fight to save the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr.  Bob and Derek secure the Tron Theatre for future talks.  Sadly the society lose members Tony Goodman, Past Vice President Bill Howat, George Johnstone, Johnny Lane, Anna Watt and Tony Mason.  The accounts closed at £7529.

That’s it folks, the show’s not over, the story continues and hopefully will for years to come!!

 

History of the SMHVTS founded in 1979

The Sir Harry Lauder Society was founded in 1979 in Portobello.  Further down this page please find an extract of the Minutes of the Inaugural meeting held one year later.

The Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society, grew from The Sir Harry Lauder Society which was founded in Sir Harry's birthplace, Portobello, in 1979.  In 1979, a group of Sir Harry Lauder fans sat down and discussed the founding of a Society.  The Society membership would be made up of those who had a keen interest in Lauder.  Its founders included: Miss Greta Lauder Fraser, great niece of Sir Harry, Miss Audrey Bullen, Mr William Merrilees and Mrs R Merrilees.  The founding members asked Mr Jimmy Logan if he would accept the position of Hon. President and Mr Gordon Irving was asked to join the Committee. 

 30 years on, the Society aims are to advance the cause of Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre and bring people together who are interested in this most vibrant of Art Forms -The Scottish Music Hall and Variety Theatre. Our members come from both sides of the footlights and include many artistes who are still performing in Variety, theatre historians, journalists and, above all, the theatre going public who filled the seats in the Empires, Palaces, Palladiums etc, all over the country and our membership ranges worldwide.

The SOCIETY produces a quarterly magazine titled "STAGEDOOR" and this is issued to our members every Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. "STAGEDOOR" features many articles about your favourite Music Hall and Variety Artistes. The Society also runs various events throughout the year e.g. lunches, coach trips, exhibitions and theatre visits etc. This Society gives one an opportunity to reminisce of the "Glorious days of Music Hall and Variety Theatre". Today the Society maintains a vested interest in supporting the live Variety Theatre of today as an Art Form.

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Minutes of the first AGM of the Sir Harry Lauder Society held within the Masonic Hall, Portobello on Friday 7th November, 1980.

Present: Miss G.L Fraser, Mrs R Merrilees, Miss Audrey Bullen, Mr J Cowie, Mr G Flockhart and Mr W. Merrilees.

Apologies were received from Miss Joan Balfour, Mr J Adam, Mr Stirling, Mr and Mrs J Hamilton, Gordon Irving and Mr H Lockhart.

The Constitution and Rules of the Society were unanimously adopted.

Election of Committee:

Chairwoman: Miss G Fraser was propsed by Mr G Flockhart and seconded by Mr W Merrilees.  Miss Fraser then took the Chair.

Vice Chair: Mr George Flockhart was proposed by Miss G Fraser and seconded by Mr W Merrilees.

Secretary: Miss Audrey Bullen was propsed by Miss G Fraser and seconded by Mr Cowie.

Treasurer: Mr Falconer, Manager of the Portobello Branch of the Bank Of Scotland was propsed by Miss A Bullen and seconded by Mr G Flockhart.

Committee Members: Miss Joan Balfour, Mr James Cowie, Mr G Irving, Mr H Lockhart, Mrs J Hamilton and Mr W Merrilees were all duly proposed and seconded.

Society Stationery: It was agreed by the Committee that the famous pencil line drawing be used as the heading.  Mrs Merrilees offered to do the art work and Mr Merrilees said he would organise the supply of stationery.

Festival 1981: Miss Bullen reported to the Committee that she had declined to accept a position on the P.T.D.A  Committee for the purpose of organising the Festival and that subsequently a letter had been received indicating that the P.T.D.A would be organising the festival.

Society Growth etc:  The Committee unanimously agreed that Miss Bullen should have authority to develop membership of the Society and arrange with local members events within the guidelines of the Constitution.

This Page shall be updated shortly with some more history of the Society