Mary Stocks, Baroness Stocks

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Mary Danvers Stocks, Baroness Stocks (née Brinton; 25 July 1891 – 6 July 1975) was a British writer. She was the daughter of a London doctor. She was closely associated with the Strachey, the Wedgwood and the Ricardo[disambiguation needed] families. Her family was deeply involved in changes in the Victorian Era and Stocks herself was deepingly involved in women's suffrage, the welfare state, and other aspects of social work [1] She attended St. Paul's Girls School and earned a degree in Economics in 1913 from the London School of Economics (LSE).


She married the philosopher John Leofric Stocks in 1913 with whom she had one son and two daughters. During the First World War, Mary Stocks taught at the LSE and King's College, London. After the war, she went to Oxford with her husband and taught economic history at Somerville College and Lady Margaret Hall. After her husband died in 1937, Stocks moved back to London. In 1939, she became Principal of Westfield College where she remained until 1951. Conservative MP Tim Brinton and Sal Brinton, Baroness Brinton are cousins of Mary Stocks.


In 1945 Stocks contested the London University seat at the General Election as an Independent Progressive. Her opponent was the sitting MP who stood as an Independent supporter of the Churchill government. She came within 149 votes of winning.

In 1946 Stocks contested the Combined English Universities by-election as an Independent candidate. The by-election was caused by the death of Eleanor Rathbone (whose biography Stocks wrote). She was the runner-up amongst five candidates.

Later life[edit]

Stocks became a radio broadcaster appearing frequently on Any Questions and on quiz shows and gave religious talks.[2] She eventually retired to the House of Lords, having been created a life peer as Baroness Stocks, of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on 17 January 1966,[3] and wrote her autobiography.[1] She was commissioned to write a book on the 50th Anniversary of the WEA (Workers Educational Association) which was founded in 1903.[4] She received several honorary doctorates, including ones from Manchester in 1955, from Liverpool in 1956 and from Leeds in 1957. She was a member of the advisory committee to the Anti-Concorde Project.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Majority of detail taken from a book called My Commonplace Book published by Peter Davies London 1971 reprint of the first 1970 edition with an ISBN 0-432-15750-6
  2. ^ BBC interview Frankly Speaking
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 43877. p. 666. 18 January 1966.
  4. ^ a b Detail from a copy of the book published by George Allen and Unwin in 1953 with no ISBN

See also[edit]


  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan 1977)
  • Dr Mary Stocks interviewed in 1964 for the BBC radio programme Frankly Speaking. Accessed April 2015