HOW does a talented music hall star, famous the world over for the classic song Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside, end up buried in a Glasgow cemetery?

This is the question which sent musician and actor Hugh Reed on a lockdown quest to find out more about the city’s past.

“I spotted Mark Sheridan’s grave in Cathcart cemetery, and did a bit of research – and it’s a tragic tale,” says Hugh, former lead singer with Hugh Reed and the Velvet Underpants, who now works as a college lecturer in Beijing.

Glasgow Times:  Hugh Reed who has been researching lots of Glasgow’s characters and making videos about them. He is pictured in Cathcart cemetery next to the grave of comedian Mark Sheridan who died on 15th January 1918. Mark Sheridan was a popular music hall

“This was a young man who was one of the biggest music hall stars of the time, who had travelled all over the world.

“He was famous for Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside, but he also helped to make songs like Down at the Old Bull and Bush and Who Were You With Last Night? popular too.

“I discovered it was quite a story as to how he ended up buried in a cemetery on the south side of Glasgow.”

During last year’s lockdown, stranded at home in Scotland and unable to return to work in China, Hugh decided to go in search of history on his doorstep.

What he found amazed him and he wanted to bring it to a wider audience.

Now his quirky and informative videos are gathering a big following online as they tell fascinating and often long-forgotten stories of Glasgow’s past.

Interspersed with music, old photos and archive film footage, Hugh takes viewers on a journey into the city’s rich history.

“I’m really interested in old Glasgow and the characters who lived here,” says Hugh.

“During lockdown, I started making videos to amuse myself, really, about Glasgow and about the isle of Bute, but I found out some really interesting stories that I don’t think a lot of people know much about.

“These are not new stories, they are out there, but they are not well-known.

“I made the videos really just to amuse myself, but I’ve had lots of great comments from people who have enjoyed them.”

The starting point for Hugh in Glasgow was Cathcart cemetery, on the south side of the city, where Stan Laurel’s mother Margaret Jefferson, Celtic FC’s manager Willie Malley and footballer R S McColl are buried.

Glasgow Times: The grave in Cathcart cemetery  of Margaret Jefferson, mother of Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame.  Re. interview with Hugh Reed who has been researching lots of Glasgow’s characters and making videos about them...  Photograph by Colin

But it was Mark Sheridan’s gravestone which intrigued him the most.

In 1917, Sheridan wrote and composed the musical burlesque, Gay Paree, which he performed with a London theatre company and later toured to Scotland.

Glasgow Times: Mark Sheridan

“Mark Sheridan was in Glasgow in January 1918 with Gay Paree, in which he played Napoleon,” explains Hugh.

“It was a lot of pressure for him – he was playing to 3000 people a night at the Old Coliseum on Eglinton Street, and he had put a lot of his own money - £2000 – into the show.

“It had a huge cast, of 40 people, he was co-producing with his wife, and his two sons were involved.”

Glasgow Times: A bill from Sheridan's show.

He adds: “He had always been very popular in Glasgow – in fact, audiences in the city would have been the first to see the show, and afterwards, the reviews in the newspapers were very lukewarm.

“No-one really knows what happened, but sadly, on January 15, 1918, he left his hotel room and was later found dead in Kelvingrove Park by two boys on his way to school.

Glasgow Times: Mark Sheridan

“He was just 53.”

Hugh divides his time between his native Glasgow and Beijing, where has had a series of screen roles including a spot in a Jackie Chan movie.

He is hoping the Velvet Underpants – who supported Debbie Harry in the 90s - will perform again once Covid restrictions lift, and is planning a gig in Paisley on September 3.

READ MORE: When Cliff Richard stayed the night in Cowcaddens

Hugh’s videos, about Sheridan and more are available on his You Tube channel.