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Irene Stockley of Corfe Castle

What’s My Line?

Many of us remember the television show ‘What’s My Line.’ Imported from America, it aired in the UK from 1951 to 1964 and over the years it was hosted by several show biz personalities and who can forget some of the regular panellists on the show: Gilbert Harding; Isobel Barnett; Barbara Kelly and Bob Monkhouse. For much of the time the chairman was Eamon Andrews. The panellists had to guess the contestants occupation but only questions that could be answered with a yes or a no were allowed.

On the 30th of May 1954 a lady from Corfe Castle, Mrs Irene Stockley, appeared on the show and beat the panellists, who were stumped by her occupation: she delivered coal!  She came away with a certificate signed by all the celebrities on the show. It seems her name was put forward by one of her customers. Family members including her husband were in the audience to witness her triumph and to hear the then chairman Canadian Ron Rendell, admit to not knowing what Corfe meant but he did promise to visit the town.

Mrs. Stockley’s husband had been in poor health for several years and showing true Dorset spirit she took over the task of weighing up the bags of coal and helping load the lorries.
The Stockley family has been in Corfe Castle for centuries and we have often been asked to find information about them and we thought this little snippet would be of interest. There is a photo in the gallery of Mrs. Stockley at work.

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