Madam Stockton presents
by Bernard Stockton
Ed note: following the War and into the 1950s, the old British Legion situated behind Boots (photo further below) was the venue for many concerts and pantomimes, stage managed by Mrs. Stockton who worked tirelessly with village youngsters to bring them to the stage.
This 'Madam Stockton event' took place around 1953/4 and the photo was sent by Margaret Isobel Williams. It includes her Sister-in-law, Myra Evans, who is the second from the right, in the back row. Margaret recalled, 'Myra was just 16 years old and was working at Cowley's, The Newsagents in Newton Road, when she went out with my brother. They were only just starting to go out together so I'm sure they loved me tagging along! He made Myra a riding whip, which she used in the show, by winding brown cotton around a stick, giving it a lovely sheen.
I cannot remember the name of the concert, but I will never forget that I was allowed to wear my new Llwyn y Bryn School blazer to go and see her in the show and had to face my mother when I got home, as I had tipped ice cream over my new blazer at the Forte's Ice Cream Parlour!'
'Babes in the Wood,' 1946
Back row, far left is Pamela Seacombe and in the front row far left is Pauline Seacombe. Julia Grey is third from left is and fifth is Elizabeth Halden. Also in the picture are Barbara Jenkins, Pat Ridd and Anne Eynon.
Pantomimes at the ‘Legion’ in Oystermouth Square, were part of the village scene from 1946 into the 1950s.
1946-7 saw the first production, ‘Babes in the Wood’. It was a great success and had a fortnight’s run. The principal parts were played by adults, a local well-known actor, Mr. Eric Stevens in the starring role and village children made up the chorus, dancers and, of course, the Babes.
The following year saw the first of many Junior productions—‘Cinderella’ in 1948 was well received and all parts were played by village children.
More of the 'Babes in the Wood' Pantomime, 1946Photo: Wendy Stiddard
Wendy Stiddard noted, 'This photo shows me in the second row second from left in the fancy cap with the satin peak and the girl with the frilly cravat is Beryl Evans, who lived in Park Street',
There are many familiar faces, but I can’t remember many of their names, nor the name of the pantomime. But I do know that the fairy in the middle is Florette Macfarlane, a contemporary of mine at High School, who lived in Thistleboon.
The Dame is George Charles, who lived in Westbourne Place and he and his wife were friends of my parents. His wife was a relative of the Secombes.
The girl on my right is called Josephine. I can't think of her surname but she married Pressdee the cricketer and moved to South Africa'. and added, 'I thought that Mrs Stockton was a very clever needlewoman.
At The Royal British Legion, 1946/7, Is this also 'Babes in the Wood' Pantomime?Photo: Bernard Stockton
Mrs Stockton’s Dancing School children were the backbone of all productions and she received wonderful support from all the village Mums (and sometimes Dads)
Mrs. Brown (John and Anne’s Mum) was the Wardrobe Mistress, who always turned out first class costumes for all productions. Mr. Kippen (Elizabeth ‘Kipper’s’ Dad) was Stage Manager. The production was my Father, David’s responsibility and Eunice, my Mother took care of the rest.
Dancing classes were held in the basement at 144, Overland Road. There were three groups— tiny tots, kiddies up to fourteen and a senior group of very glamorous village ladies, who provided the line up at the Empire in Swansea for the town’s annual pantomime.
The Pantos were a village institution, always well attended and on occasion had a three-week run at the Legion and Church Hall (now Ostreme).
We toured the local area and once a production of ‘Cinderella’ even took place in May!
I don’t think a three-week run would be possible in today’s climate of TV and video games, but we can look back at those shows and remember how much pleasure they gave us, our families and the Village. ‘Madame Stockton Presents’ will be remembered by many with affection.
P.S. The boys in Oystermouth School gave me a dog’s life because of the word ‘Madam’.
‘Oh Look! there’s Madam Stockton’s little boy’ still rings in my ears.
The Royal British Legion site at Oystermouth Square
The small garden, marked with a red cross, behind Boots the Chemist, is the site of the Mumbles Royal British Legion, at Oystermouth Square.
In the background is The Tivoli Entertainment Centre, previously the cinema, fondly known as 'The Tiv' and now the site of part of the Oyster Wharf development.
An aerial view of All Saints' Church, Bowling Green & Tennis Courts, The 'New' Cinema, (later The 'Tivoli' as shown in the upper photo) the row of shops, which included Kemps. On the right hand side is The Royal British Legion Hall at Oystermouth Square, pre 1929.