He loved a lassie, a bonnie, bonnie lassie, and he sang about her all over the world to great acclaim.

Glasgow loved Sir Harry Lauder, and he came back to the city time and time again to perform.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of his death.

His performances at many of the music halls and theatres in Glasgow were the stuff of legend – you hadn’t lived until you’d seen a tartan-clad Lauder singing Stop Your Tickin’, Jock, I Love a Lassie and Roaming in the Gloaming, to a packed house.

Glasgow Times:

Criticised by some, including great Scottish poet Hugh McDiarmid and comedy legend Stanley Baxter, for peddling tartan kitsch and reinforcing stereotypes, Lauder was nevertheless much adored here and abroad and he became Scotland’s greatest ever entertainer.

He was also well aware of the caricature he was portraying and, like countless other Scottish comics, sent up our worst and best characteristics for the purpose of nostalgia as much as for laughs. Ex-pats loved him.

Born in Edinburgh in 1870, the young Lauder moved to Lanarkshire, working in a flax mill as a young boy, and then in the local mine.

But in his spare time he loved to sing, and by the age of 24, he was earning enough to swap mines for music halls.

His first professional engagement was in Larkhall for a five-shilling fee. Encouraged to enter the Glasgow Harmonic Society’s Great Comic Singing Contest in 1892, he won second prize, and he had a trial run at the Scotia music hall on Stockwell Street.

It was at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, where he became a panto star, that he sang some of his famous songs for the first time and took his first steps on the road to stardom.

Read more: School dinners are a bad memory for chef Jordan Shane

His first pantomime at the Hope Street venue was Aladdin, in which he played the role of Roderick McSwankey.

It was the first time he sang I Love a Lassie, which became his most popular song for many years. In 1910, in Red Riding Hood, he premiered the song Roamin’ in the Gloamin’.

Glasgow Times:

By 1911, Lauder was the highest-paid performer in the world, and the first British artist to sell a million records. By 1928 he had sold double that.

He worked for 40 years and travelled to performances in the US more than 20 times. He was a comedian, singer and actor.

Lauder met several American presidents, including Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and he had many famous friends, from Charlie Chaplin and DouglasFairbanks to Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson.

He described himself as being “quite good friends” with the Prince of Wales, later to become the Duke of Windsor, who added to Lauder’s collection of twisted sticks, bringing one back from Japan especially for him. These knobbly sticks became one of the most famous features of Lauder’s act, and he was presented with them wherever he went, especially on his American and Australian tours.

Read more: Dolly dazzles Glasgow in 1977

After the death of his son, Captain John Lauder, who was killed in action in the First World War in 1917, Lauder launched a £1m charity fundraiser to help charities supporting ex-servicemen, including Erskine in Renfrewshire. (To this day Erskine Hospital still receives funds raised from his royalties.)

Glasgow Times:

Harry Lauder was knighted for his charity work in 1919 and Sir Winston Churchill described him as “Scotland’s greatest ever ambassador”.

According to the Scottish Theatre Archive at the University of Glasgow, Lauder’s last stage appearance was at a concert in the Gorbals to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the local Rover Scout Group in 1947.

The archive collection includes photographs, playbills, postcards, press cuttings, programmes and scripts.

Sir Harry died at home in Strathaven on February 26, 1950.

*What are your memories of the great Sir Harry Lauder? Did you see him perform?

Times Past would love to hear from fans – send your memories and photos to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB or email ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk