LANE, Jack 1879-1953. Music-hall star. Born in Halifax, Yorkshire, Lane’s real name was John Edward Rider. He was billed as ‘The Yorkshire Rustic’ for his music-hall performances. His act was very versatile, embodying dialect studies, patter and comedy; he sang and played the piano. The son of a shoemaker, Lane began his working life as an engineering apprentice. A succession of jobs followed, and with the encouragement of his mother, who had ‘put him to the piano at an early age’, he entered the world of entertainment. His first professional appearance was in 1902, accompanying Leo Dryden, who sang his famous song ‘The Miner’s Dream of Home’.

An agent saw Jack performing and offered him a pantomime engagement at Doncaster at £5 a week. This led to a tour of South Africa and he decided to get married on the strength of it. He was a great favourite in pantomime, playing the role of Simple Simon or Idle Jack. The comedy part of his act was so good that he unwittingly cured a shell-shocked soldier, rendered dumb by gunfire in 1916. Apparently he laughed so much at Lane’s act at the Sunderland Empire that he got his voice back.

In later years Lane made a name for himself on radio, appearing on Variety Bandbox and Palace of Varieties. His most famous act was to be able to play ‘Cock o’ the North’ on the piano with one hand, his signature tune Hello! with the other, and sing ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht ’at’ to a different tune altogether. He lived at 133 Burbage Road from 1921 to 1926.

Brian Green