Bring me sunshine in Harpenden

March 22nd 2017
By: Melanie
Bring me sunshine in Harpenden

You might already know this but as the sunshine really does begin to return it’s great to remember one of Harpenden’s iconic residents. Eric Morecambe one half of the classic comedy duo was a Harpenden resident for nearly 25 years from 1960-1984.
John Eric Bartholomew OBE was born on 14 May 1926 and died on 28 May 1984, known by his stage name Eric Morecambe, he was an English comedian who together with Ernie Wise formed the award-winning double act ‘Morecambe & Wise’. The partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death of a heart attack in 1984. Eric took his stage name from his home town, the seaside resort of Morecambe. Their shows were popular for decades and one of The Morecambe & Wise Christmas shows, gained incredible UK viewing figures of over twenty-eight million people in 1977!
Eric Morecambe was married to Joan Bartlett in 1952 and they had three children: Gail (born 1953); Gary (born 1956) and Steven (born 1969 and adopted in 1973).  He and his family lived in Harpenden in Hertfordshire from the 1960s until his death and the Harpenden public concert hall is named after him, with a portrait of Morecambe hanging in the foyer. Eric often referred to Harpenden in his comedy sketches, with a band once appearing on the show named The Harpenden Hot-Shots and in a Casanova sketch he introduced himself as Lord Eric, Fourth Duke of Harpenden - and certain parts of Birkenhead!
As well as being a comedian Eric was a keen birdwatcher, to mark the 75th anniversary of Eric and Ernie's debut performance as a double act, Graham Ibbeson designed a bronzed sculpture of the pair, it was funded by donations and stands in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, the statue shows Morecambe wearing his binoculars. .