Eileen Ascroft

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Eileen Ascroft was a journalist and writer.

Her first husband was celebrated filmmaker Alexander Mackendrick, who produced Whisky Galore, The Ladykillers and A High Wind in Jamaica.

Ascroft worked as a journalist at the Daily Mirror, where she met her second husband, Hugh Cudlipp. In her book about Cudlipp, Newspapermen, Ruth Dudley Edwards describes Ascroft as "blonde, talented and ambitious".[1] Ascroft was sacked from the Mirror by the Editorial Director, Harry Guy Bartholomew, for using his oak office door as a dartboard.[2] Ascroft was responsible for starting the women's page at the Evening Standard. She and Hugh went on to become the most powerful couple on Fleet Street: "The combined power of Mr and Mrs Cudlipp over the livelihoods of hundreds, maybe thousands, of newspaper men and woman [sic], even benevolently exercised as they have always been, are going to be immense and terrifying".[3]

"Another side of her talents was seen as navigator of her husband's motor-cruiser in Cross-Channel expeditions. She could also pilot an aeroplane, having learnt to do so in an idle spell in Australia."[4]

"Interestingly, for a successful journalist carving out a glittering career for herself in a traditionally masculine industry Eileen's book, The Magic Key to Charm, is a tutorial in all the traditional feminine virtues. The Magic Key to Charm was published in 1938 and was made up of a collection of her immensely popular columns in the Mirror, 'Charm School'. Tragically, in 1962, Eileen Ascroft died of an overdose of sleeping pills."[5]


  1. ^ Edwards, Ruth Dudley: Newspapermen, Secker and Warburg, 2003
  2. ^ Cudlipp, Hugh Walking on the Water Bodley Head, 1976
  3. ^ New Statesman, 3 February 1961
  4. ^ The Times, 1 May 1962
  5. ^ https://penguin.com.au/authors/84-eileen-ascroft