Piershill Cemetery

Formerly the site of part of Piershill Barracks

Funeral Procession for 'The Great Lafayette'  -  1911

Funeral Procession for 'The Great Lafayette' entering Piershill Cemetery  -  1911

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Neil Watson, Peebles, Borders, Scotland                                            Photographer not known


Lafayette's Funeral

Procession Entering Piershill Cemetery

Thank you to Neil Watson for allowing me to reproduce this photo that he found in one of his boxes of old postcards.

Acknowledgement:  Neil Watson, Peebles, Borders, Scotland:  August 4, 2010




Brian Alexander

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Thank you to Brian Alexander for providing more information about Lafayette and his death at the Empire Palace Theatre in Edinburgh.

Brian wrote:


"I just noticed Eric Gold's recollection relating to the death of 'The Great Lafayette' aka Sigmund Neuberger  in a fire at the Empire Palace Theatre on 9 May 1911.  Here is photograph of his funeral procession.


There is always confusion regarding the death of his dog, 'Beauty'.  She did not die in the fire; she died four days previously and is buried in Peirshill Cemetery.   'Beauty' was given to Lafayette by his good friend Harry Houdini. **


**   In his book, 'Eccentric Edinburgh', JK Gillon says that:

Lafayette had his cross-bred terrier, Beauty, embalmed following the dog's death from apoplexy on May 5, 1911.

-  Lafayette was then given permission for the dog to be buried at Piershill Cemetery, provided he agreed to be buried at the same cemetery.

-  It was only four days later that Lafayette died in the fire at the Empire Theatre when a lamp fell amongst the scenery while he was performing in front of an audience of 3,000.

-  The first car in Lafayette's long cortège was his silver-grey Mercedes, the sole passenger being Mabel, a Dalmatian hound.

-  There was a ceremonial at the cemetery as  Beauty's coffin was opened and Lafayette's ashes were placed beside the dog.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 4, 2010


Stage Double

"Interestingly, when the fire damage was cleared another body was found dressed exactly as Lafayette, this was his stage double used in his act. ** "

Brian Alexander

Stage Double

**  In his book, 'Eccentric Edinburgh', JK Gillon says:

-  a charred body was found, near the stage, wearing Lafayette's costume

-  a further search of the basement revealed another body dressed as Lafayette, this one wearing the diamond rings that Lafayette always wore.

-  The first body to be found was, in fact, one of the doubles that Lafayette often used in his act.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 4, 2010