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Eliot Stannard

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Eliot Cardella Stannard (1888–1944) was English screenwriter, dramatist and director.


Despite being a highly important figure in the early years of British cinema — he wrote the scenarios for at least 150 silent films, including 8 of the early Hitchcock films — comparatively little is known of Stannard's life.[1]

Together with his twin sister, Violet Mignon Stannard, he was born in March 1888.

His father, Arthur, worked as a civil engineer. His mother was Henrietta Eliza Vaughan Stannard, a Yorkshire-born novelist who published under the pseudonym John Strange Winter.[2] Henrietta named her son after a character who appeared in her novel "Cavalry Life".[3]

By 1911, Stannard was working as an assistant manager to his father at a manufacturing company.[4] He apparently took over management of the company after his father's death in 1912 but declared bankruptcy in November 1913. By the following year he was writing short scenarios for films.

His twin sister, Violet, became one of the first female police women, joining the London Metropolitan Police in August 1920.[5]

Stannard married widow Patricia Bingham Johns in 1916, although they appeared to have separated by the early 1930s. In reality, his wife was likely Lilian Mary Bingham Shekleton and the marriage was unlawful due to her bigamy.[6]

From 1919 to 1930, the Stannards owned or rented two separate apartment flats in Holbein House, a large apartment complex on the corner of Holbein Place and Pimlico Road, Kensington, London.[7]

He appears to have spent the last decade of his life living in a series of rented houses in the area around Sloane Square, Chelsea, before moving to 29 Jameson Street, Kensington, London.[8]

Stannard died in November 1944 at St Mary Abbot's Hospital, Kensington. The cause of death was recorded as myocardial degeneration and chronic rheumatic myocarditis.

Speaking to Kevin Macdonald, screen writer Sidney Gilliat recalled of Stannard[9]:

The only resident British writer I can remember was Eliot Stannard, a great character He seemed to be writing or rewriting everything. If something went wrong on a picture, Stannard was called up — like Shakespeare would have been — and asked to come in and pep the scene a bit.


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  • born 01/Mar/1888 in Putney, Wandsworth, London[10]
  • baptised 10/Mar/1888 at St Mary, Putney
  • son of civil engineer and company director Arthur Stannard (b. ~1854)[11] and novelist Henrietta Eliza Vaughan Stannard (b. 1856) née Palmer[12], who married 1884 in York, Yorkshire
  • brother of Audrey Noel Palmer Stannard (b. 1884)[13], Dorothy Katharine Palmer Stannard (b. 1885)[14], Violet Mignon Stannard (b. 1888)[15] and Olive Nancy (Margaret Louise Henrietta Josephine) Stannard (b. 1895)[16]
  • died 21/Nov/1944 in London[17]


Although the marriage certificate gives the name Patricia Bingham Johns (b. ~1887), there was no such person and the evidence points towards her being Lilian Mary Bingham Shekleton and that the marriage was bigamous.[18]

Lilian Mary Bingham Shekleton (b. ~1882)

  • born around 1882 in Romford, Essex
  • daughter of physician & surgeon Samuel Bingham Shekleton (b. ~1849)[19] and Mary Ann Louisa Shekleton (b. ~1859) née Smith[20], who married 24/Feb/1881 in Aldgate, Middlesex
  • sister of Kathleen Mary Shekleton (b. 1874)[21], Samuel Smith Shekleton (b. 1884)[22], Eliza Margaret Shekleton (b. 1885)[23] and Henry Bingham Shekleton (b. 1887)[24]
  • mother of Jack Bingham Johns (b. 1905), later known as Jack Vincent Bingam
  • married July 1910 to Edgar Cecil Cupper
  • married 29/Mar/1916 to Eliot Stannard at the St. Giles Registry Office in London — she falsely claimed to be a widow at the time, giving a false name and age on the marriage certificate
  • died 1948 in Dorset

Other events in her life:

  • December 1891 — Samuel Bingham Shekleton (living at 1 Carlton Place, Bristol) was arrested and charged with neglecting to maintain his wife and children, who were living in Stratford (Essex) and had become so poor that they were admitted to the West Ham Union Workhouse.[25]
  • June 1899 — Samuel Bingham Shekleton was found "guilty of infamous conduct in a professional respect" by the General Medical Council and struck off the medical register.[26] He was restored to the register in 1905.[27]
  • May 1907 — Samuel Bingham Shekleton of Plaistow, London, signs his own death certificate and commits suicide by drinking prussic acid.

Census Details


3-year-old living at 25 Nevern Square, Kensington, London, with parents and siblings.


13-year-old living at 25 Charleville Road, Fulham, London, with parents and siblings.


23-year-old Eliot was working as an assistant manager to his father at the "Toilet Preparation Company" and living with his parents and siblings at 17 Hurlingham Gardens, Fulham, London.

1939 Register

Residing alone at 166 Walton Street , Kensington, London, and listed as a "Dramatist Film Scenarist, Writer Of Fiction."

Research Documents


Marriage (1916)

Death (1944)

Civil Engineer Records: Arthur Stannard

London Gazette (07/Nov/1913)

Telephone Directory

Some entries are for Mrs. Eliot Stannard.

  • 1917 to 1930 — 85 Holbein House, Sloane Square, London (Sloane 2836 & Victoria 497)
  • 1922 to 1926 — 64 Holbein House, Sloane Square, London (Victoria 497)
  • 1922 to 1923 — Meadowcroft, Ashford, Kent (Ashford 75)
  • 1923 to 1924 — "Harewood", Hare Lane, Little Kingshill, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire (Gt. Missenden 75)
  • 1929 to 1931 — Laneside, Little Bentley, Tendring, Essex (Gt. Bentley 20)

Kelly's 1936 Post Office Directory

  • 1936 — 27 Disraeli Gardens, Putney, SW15 (no telephone given)

Electoral Registers

  • 1911 to 1912 — 17 Hurlington Gardens, Fulham, London: one furnished room on the second floor, rent of 10s per week with partial board, rented from his sister Audrey[28]
  • 1915 — 63 Beaufort Mansions, Chelsea, London[29]
  • 1918 — 85 Holbein House, Sloan Square, London[30]
  • 1919 to 1921 — 85-86 Holbein House, Sloan Square, London[31]
  • 1922 — 64 Holbein House, Sloan Square, London[32]
  • 1924 to 1925 — 64 Holbein House, Sloan Square, London[33]
  • 1926 to 1928 — Elliott Stannard listed at 12 Upper Phillimore Place, Kensington, London[34]
  • 1930 — 85 Holbein House, Sloan Square, London[35]
  • 1933 — 40 Oakhill Road, Putney, London[36]
  • 1935 — 27 Disraeli Gardens, Putney, London[37]
  • 1938 — 2 Walpole Street, Chelsea, London[38]
  • 1939 — 166 Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London[39] (also the address given in the 1939 Register)

Research Notes

  • Eliot Stannard ("son of John Strange Winter") was the best man at the wedding of Ernest Henry George Cox and Miriam Pritchett on 04/Jun/1912 at the parish church in Munsley, Herefordshire. Stannard gave the couple a pair of "Sheffield plate candlesticks".[40]
  • At the time of his marriage in 1916, he was living at 4 Hart Street, Bloomsbury. The street was renamed Bloomsbury Way in the 1930s.
  • An advertisement in The Times (19/Dec/1928) for a new company named Filmophone Limited, which had the exclusive UK rights to the "Filmophone Talking Picture Device" (British Patent 271490), boasted that they had secured "the services of Eliot Stannard, the most successful British scenario writer, who had written over 400 scenarios".
  • It seems highly unlikely that there were any other "Eliot Stannard"s alive at the time, so it's difficult to untangle Eliot's post-film life from the Electoral Register entries, especially the two references to Dorothy (Weychan) Stannard. She may possibly be Dorothy Agnes Weychan (b. ~1903) and the couple were pretending to be married.[41] In 1932, Dorothy was living at 14 Mexfield Road, Putney.

Notes & References

  1. According to an advertisement for Filmophone Limited, which appeared in The Times (19/Dec/1928), Stannard wrote over 400 scenarios.
  2. Wikipedia: John Strange Winter.
  3. The novel can be read online as part of the Women's Genre Fiction Project.
  4. Named as the "Toilet Preparation Company" on the 1911 Census, but likely simply meant a company which manufactured toilets.
  5. According to researcher Helen Barnard, Violet's application read "I can not afford to remain without work".
  6. The Hitchcock Zone: The Strange Case of Eliot Stannard
  7. It seems likely they lived in one flat whilst renting/subletting the other out.
  8. See Google Street View. This appears to have been a multi-tenant property at the time, with 4 separate families listed at the address in the 1911 Census.
  9. English Hitchcock (2000) by Charles Barr, page 24
  10. Date of birth confirmed via the 1939 Register.
  11. Born in Upwey, Dorset. Died 03/Oct/1912. Probate record lists effects worth £486 and Eliot administered the will.
  12. Born 13/Jan/1856 in York, Yorkshire. Daughter of Henry Vaughan Palmer (b. ~1818) and Emily Catherine Palmer (b. ~1818). Died 13/Dec/1911 in London. Probate record lists effects worth £547. Cremated at Woking Crematorium where her ashes were interned.
  13. Died 01/Nov/1912.
  14. Died 1886
  15. Violet became one of the first female police women, joining the Metropolitan Police on 30/Aug/1920. Likely died 1959 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
  16. Born 22/Sep/1895. Died 09/Oct/1975 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Cause of death listed as Coronary Thrombosis, Hiatus Hernia and Carcinoma of Breast.
  17. Death registered Q4 1944 Kensington, London.
  18. Birth registered Romford, Essex. Died 1948.
  19. Son of Thomas Shekleton. Died 1907 aged 59 in West Ham district.
  20. Daughter of hotel proprietor Samuel Simpson Smith.
  21. Born in Monmouthshire, Wales.
  22. Born 24/Apr/1884 in Romford, Essex. 1901 Census: Apprentice "boy under training" (aged 16) at Devonport Harbour, Cornwall. Served in the Navy from 1902 to 1912. Died 24 Jun 1946.
  23. Baptised 14/Jul/1886 in Bromley.
  24. Born 12/Jun/1887 in Plaistow, Essex. Served in the Navy from 1904 to 1913.
  25. No other follow-up reports were found in the local press, so it seems likely Samuel paid the costs reported by the Workhouse of £5 13s 9d.
  26. Source: British Medical Journal (10/Jun/1899).
  27. Source: British Medical Journal (03/Jun/1905).
  28. Their father Arthur is also listed as renting a room from Audrey at the same address for £20 per year.
  29. No one else is living with Eliot.
  30. Living with his wife Patricia.
  31. Living with his wife Patricia.
  32. Living with his wife Patricia. Arthur Llewellyn Foley is listed at 85-86.
  33. Patricia is not listed. Dora Hamilton is listed at 85-86.
  34. Despite the different first name, this appears to be Eliot Stannard.
  35. Living with his wife "Lilian Patricia" and Jack Vincent Bingham (her son from her first marriage). Dora Hamilton is now listed at 64.
  36. Now living with Dorothy Stannard.
  37. Living with Dorothy Weychan Stannard.
  38. Sharing the house with 5 other people, not of whom appear to be related.
  39. Appears to be renting a room from Louisa Seymour. Sharing the house with several other people.
  40. Source: Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald (15/Jun/1912).
  41. Dorothy Agnes Weychan eventually married George A. Hyne in 1949.