Having already spent some considerable time researching the lives of George Ellis and Anita Creighton, I knew that going to the archive of The Stage newspaper was going to be the best starting point to pick up any information I could on George Stockwin. At this point, I didn’t know whether George Stockwin was a stage name or not, and I was struggling to work out how old the man in the photo was.
Going to The Stage newspaper immediately yielded results. The first entry I could find referring to George was on the 8th June 1922 where in a write-up about The Gaieties theatre company George Stockwin was described as having “a pleasing baritone voice and is of great assistance, both as a soloist and in the concerted numbers”.
George was praised again in The Stage on 24 January 1924, in a review of the C.A.A (Concert Artistes Association) Eighth “At Home” it was stated that “a newcomer, George Stockwin, was one of the few compelled to concede an encore”.
In 1928, George Stockwin relaunched himself, calling himself Stock Wynn. Around this time, he also moved from being purely a baritone to describing himself as an entertainer.
If you get the chance to look through The Stage newspaper archive, you will find that there are hundreds of references to Stock Wynn, all of which are full of praise for his singing, his pleasant and light hearted compering skills and his considerable ability to entertain a wide range of audiences. Not only was he on various charitable committees, but he also “did his bit” for the war effort:
Present was “Stock Wynn in ENSA uniform but minus his monocle. He recently returned from a four year tour of the Middle East being one of the pioneers of MEF entertainment in 1940.”
The final mention of Stock Wynn was in 1967, in which notice is given of his memorial service which was held at St Columba’s church, Pont Street, at 3pm on March 8th 1967. He is described as being a “highly respected member of the CAA [who] was active from 1922 – 1960 as a producer-entertainer”.
It was obvious that George Stockwin had been a highly respected entertainer, but I still wanted to know where he had come from and what his life away from the stage was like.
George Stockwin was born on the 3rd April 1898, the only child of George William David and Sarah Rosina Maria Stockwin (nee Powell). George was baptised on 19th June 1898 at All Saints Church, Acton with his father giving his profession as a Laundry Proprietor, and their residence as Clarence House, Stanley Road. His parents had married the previous year having both been widowed. Sarah had three children from her previous marriage, George at that point was childless.
In 1901, the family were living at 6 Hereford Road, Acton. According to the census, George Stockwin senior was working as a Business Transfer Agent, suggesting that he acted as an intermediary between people who were selling businesses and those who wanted to buy a business. However, trade directories for 1902 also show G W D Stockwin as being a laundry proprietor, so perhaps there was some entrepreneurial wheeler dealings going on!
In April 1902, the young George was enrolled into Tottenham Road primary school. The address given was as their residence was 537 Kingsland Road, Hackney. George moved up to Shap Street school in 1907. The family were still living at 537 Kingsland Road in 1911 (as per the census) with George senior having changed his profession again to being a chef in a Ham and Beef Shop. As George senior’s step children, Noel and Rose, were listed as being a shop assistant and a waitress respectively, it looks as if the Ham and Beef Shop was a family affair.
When WW1 broke out in 1914, George would have been 16. On 12 February 1918, the London Gazette note that George W Stockwin of the Officer Cadet Unit had been made up to 2nd Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment. Because he was coming from an Officer Cadet Unit, it is possible that George was in a university, but at the moment, that is pure speculation!
From this point on, George’s work life is chronicle in The Stage. He married Mildred Bathurst in 1926 and they had two children, and seems to have lived a happy and fulfilled life.