James Hadfield-Hyde

My Grandfather

"My Grandfather, Edward Curran had died only a year before the meeting between his two sons. In the earliest years of the twentieth century Edward had a penchant for the arts and acting. He was part of a touring dance group along with his then friend, Charlie Chaplin, called "Eight Lancashire Lads", not that they were all from Lancashire; Charlie was a London boy. My great Aunt remembers when Charlie would occasionally stay with them at their house in Manchester and he and my Grandfather would entertain the family and practise their tap dancing on the stone hearth in front of the fire. Their other mutual friend was Stan Laurel. In those early days before Hollywood conquered the world's film industry, there were numerous small motion picture companies

being set up in England and Europe, one of which was the Manchester Film Company. Edward Curran appeared in silent movies of the time and I often wondered why he didn't go to America with Charlie and Stan when he had the opportunity. It was only many years later I found the reason. My Grandfather was starring as Jack Shepherd in a silent film called 'Jack Shepherd the Prison Breaker' and during filming he had to ride a horse and be thrown into a pond. After numerous takes he got fever and nearly died from pneumonia. By the time he recovered Charlie and Stan had gone to California. Edward decided he no longer wanted to have anything to do with the film industry and the rest is down to history. As a small boy, my uncle Tredennis remembered going to the cinema with my Grandfather. When the film began, he jumped up on the seat and shouted out loud, " look, that's my Daddy, that's my Daddy!" As the years rolled by they all continued to keep in touch and when Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy came to Britain on tour they called to see Edward. My aunt Dorothy remembers as a little girl sitting on " the fat one's knee" in their front parlour."

Extract from 'Lust, For Life'