Looking back at our Eric Morecambe

Eric Morecambe clowning around at the opening of Tarnbrook Court sheltered housing in Morecambe in 1982
Eric Morecambe clowning around at the opening of Tarnbrook Court sheltered housing in Morecambe in 1982
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A member of Morecambe’s showbiz royalty was born 90 years ago this week. Mike Hill has delved into the archives to share images of comic genius Eric Morecambe at home.

John Eric Bartholomew took his famous name from the town of his birth.

Eric Morecambe at the opening of new show homes in Clayton-le-Woods in March 1980

Eric Morecambe at the opening of new show homes in Clayton-le-Woods in March 1980

And it was on May 14, 1926 that Eric Morecambe was born in his auntie’s house in Buxton Street, in Morecambe.

His parents George and Sadie spent most of their working lives living just a few doors away in the same street near to Morecambe’s market.

Legend has it Eric arrived in the world at his auntie’s home three doors away as there was a leaky roof at his parents’ house at the time and they did not think it was a fitting place to bring a child into the world.

His father was a council labourer, easy going and contented, and it was mum who pushed her son’s talents from a young age.

Send In

Eric Morecambe becomes president of Morecambe football club
August 1969

Picture sent in by Peter Reed

Send In Eric Morecambe becomes president of Morecambe football club August 1969 Picture sent in by Peter Reed

Educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School, his parents were warned early on that paying for his schooling was like throwing money down the drain.

But if his academic skills were not brilliant it seen became clear he had other talents.

He started stage school at 11 in the Jubilee Club, in Torrisholme, and won so many seaside talent shows that he was barred from entering.

The Bartholomews spent money they could ill afford on dancing, singing and piano lessons for him. Indeed it was his mum who encouraged Eric to change his name in 1948 because she considered Bartholomew was unsuitable for theatrical bills.

Bowling Green Comedy

Morecambe and Wise appearing at the North Pier and Barbara Law appearing at the Central Pier were in hilarious mood when they opened a bowling main at the raikes Hall Hotel,Blackpool.
22nd June 1963

Bowling Green Comedy Morecambe and Wise appearing at the North Pier and Barbara Law appearing at the Central Pier were in hilarious mood when they opened a bowling main at the raikes Hall Hotel,Blackpool. 22nd June 1963

By this time he had already teamed up with Ernie Wiseman after meeting in a touring show ‘Youth Takes A Bow.’

It was the start of a double act which enshrined itself in the hearts and minds of the whole nation.

Despite his rise to stardom, Eric would try to make the time to return to Morecambe and was always proud of his northern roots famously once saying, “My ambition is to become a comedian. My hero is George Formby, another native of Lancashire. I would certainly like to follow in his footsteps.”

On his last visit to the area he opened an old people’s housing scheme in Lancaster and would often be found getting involved in community events.

Eric Morecambe greets Rev Amos Cresswell at the opening of sheltered accommodation in Lancaster

Eric Morecambe greets Rev Amos Cresswell at the opening of sheltered accommodation in Lancaster

Eric was held in high regard by locals and whenever he visited Morecambe they would send him back home to Harpenden, in Hertfordshire, with his car boot stashed with Morecambe Bay shrimps, sticks of Morecambe rock and fistfuls of crab claws.

Eric Morecambe receiving an honorary degree in literature from Lancaster University in 1979

Eric Morecambe receiving an honorary degree in literature from Lancaster University in 1979