Stan Hugill

b. 19 November 1906, in the coastguard cottages at Hoylake, Cheshire, England, d. 13 May 1992. Hugill was a veritable encyclopaedia of shanties and nautical songs from the last great days of sail. Born…
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Artist Biography

b. 19 November 1906, in the coastguard cottages at Hoylake, Cheshire, England, d. 13 May 1992. Hugill was a veritable encyclopaedia of shanties and nautical songs from the last great days of sail. Born to a seafaring family he went to sea with the Merchant Service during the early 20s. He served in Sail (square riggers and fore ‘n’ afters), of ships from the USA, Germany, and Britain, for 10 years and then moved into steam (Blue Funnel Line), to China and Japan. Hugill then spent over four years as a prisoner of war. After the war, Hugill studied for three years at the London University Oriental and African school of languages, and obtained a diploma in Japanese in 1949. From 1950, Hugill joined the Outward Bound movement, as an instructor, and later as bosun. He married Bronwen Irene Benbow in 1952, and both his sons later became folk musicians. When Shanties From The Seven Seas was published, Hugill went to the BBC in London to be interviewed, later turning up at the famous Singer’s Club, then run by Peggy Seeger and Stan Kelly. It was here that he sang in public for the first time. He was later introduced to the Bluecoat School, in Liverpool, and met both the Spinners and A.L. Lloyd. For the next few years, while still working, Hugill sang at clubs and colleges all over Britain. He later limited himself to singing at festivals worldwide, after he retired in 1975. In addition to his recordings and books, Hugill also painted marine oils, as well as illustrating his own books. Hugill lived in Wales, but continued to travel giving lectures on shanty singing, and old sailing ships. He also made two videos, Jack Tar, in Poland in 1987 and Stan Hugill in the Netherlands in 1991. He was probably the last of the British Shantymen.