Jacquemine Charrott Lodwidge

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Jacquemine Francesca Anastasia Charrott Lodwidge (born 20 July 1919) is an English writer on crime and magic who also worked as an art director in British-made films and as a bookseller. In early life she mostly used the name Jacqueline Lodwidge.

Art director is the title for a variety of similar job functions in theater, advertising, marketing, publishing, fashion, film and television, the Internet, and video games.


During the Second World War, she served with the Free French forces in the Syrian desert and with the British Red Cross as a welfare officer in the Lebanon.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Free France Government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War

Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.

The British Red Cross Society is the United Kingdom body of the worldwide neutral and impartial humanitarian network the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The society was formed in 1870, and is a registered charity with more than 32,500 volunteers and 3,500 staff. At the heart of their work is providing help to people in crisis, both in the UK and overseas. The Red Cross is committed to helping people without discrimination, regardless of their ethnic origin, nationality, political beliefs or religion.

Early life

Born at Langport, Somerset, in 1919, [1] Lodwidge was the daughter of Dr William Charrott Lodwidge MRCS LRCP, medical officer of health to the Langport Rural District Council, who at the end of the First World War had retired as a Captain from the Royal Army Medical Corps. [2] Originally from Basingstoke, [3] her father had lost his first wife in 1917, [4] and in 1918 had married secondly in France Louise Elise Marie Kermaree (1894–1977), known as Lisette. [5] Dr Lodwidge, born in 1864, [6] was thirty years older than his second wife. [7] Jacquemine Lodwidge was their only child and was born in 1919. [8] In July 1925, the young Jacquemine won a prize for playing a Dutch girl in a carnival at Langport. [9]

Langport a town in South Somerset, United Kindom

Langport is a small town and civil parish in Somerset, England, 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Somerton in the South Somerset district. The parish has a population of 1,081. Langport is contiguous with Huish Episcopi, a separate parish that includes much of the town's outskirts.

Somerset County of England

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Membership of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (MRCS) is a postgraduate diploma for surgeons in the UK and Ireland. Obtaining this qualification allows a doctor to become a member of one of the four surgical colleges in the UK and Ireland, namely the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The examinations are currently organised on an intercollegiate basis. Thus today's MRCS has replaced the former MRCS(Eng), MRCS(E), MRCS(G), and MRCS(I).

In 1928, Dr Lodwidge retired on the grounds of ill health [2] and died in April 1929, aged 65, when his daughter was nine, leaving an estate valued at £883. [10] She was thus brought up by her French mother, and they continued to live in Langport.


At the beginning of the Second World War, Lodwidge was a student. A French speaker, she decided to join first the Auxiliary Territorial Service and then, in February 1942, the army of Free France (France Libre). [11] As a result, she spent two years working with the Bedouins in the Syrian desert, [12] distributing medical supplies from an ambulance, and by September 1945 was a British Red Cross welfare officer for Syria and the Lebanon. [13]

Auxiliary Territorial Service

The Auxiliary Territorial Service was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed on 9 September 1938, initially as a women's voluntary service, and existed until 1 February 1949, when it was merged into the Women's Royal Army Corps.

After the war, Lodwidge returned home to Somerset, and in 1947 was helping to produce school plays there. [14] She went on to study the history of architecture and spent several years in Greece. [12] In the early 1950s she lived in Kensington, and in 1955 was in Cambridge, where she began to use the name Charrott-Lodwidge. By 1960 she was working as a researcher for BBC television, and one bemused Punch reviewer commented on a new programme about everyday London life called Our Street: "I find myself intrigued to notice that the research was done by one Jaquemine Charrott-Lodwidge." [15] In 1962 she was writing television scripts and was then living in a flat on the Thames at Duke Shore, Limehouse Reach. [16] She built up a substantial collection of books for reference, especially children's and illustrated books. [12] Andrew Sinclair credited her as researcher for his book The last of the best: the aristocracy of Europe in the twentieth century (1969). [17] She researched the pictures for George Woodcock’s The British in the Far East (1969) and The British in the Middle East (1970). [18]

Kensington district within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London

Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, West London, England.

Cambridge City and non-metropolitan district in England

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867 including 24,506 students. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

<i>Punch</i> (magazine) British weekly magazine of humour and satire

Punch; or, The London Charivari was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and wood-engraver Ebenezer Landells. Historically, it was most influential in the 1840s and 1850s, when it helped to coin the term "cartoon" in its modern sense as a humorous illustration.

In 1974 Ivor Powell acknowledged Lodwidge's help with his book Astrology in the kitchen, [19] and the same year with David Norris she published a book about magic called The Book of Spells. [20]

In 1970 Lodwidge began to develop a career in the movie business, first as a fashion co-ordinator, later as an art director in films and television. However, she became a less active traveller after the death of her mother in 1977. [7] She continued to work as a researcher. In 1980 she moved into a cottage in Langport called Underwall, by a 14th century wall on Langport Hill. She decided to supplement her income between filming assignments by becoming a bookseller and selling some of her own books. Installing her stock in a gazebo, the new enterprise was called Pelekas Books, taking its name from a place Lodwidge had known in Corfu. In The Book Browser's Guide (1982), R. H. Lewis comments "There are herons at the bottom of the terraced garden, and a river from which excellent rough fishing can be had; accompanying husbands or wives not interested in books are invited to bring fishing rods. The building has been redesigned with film-set type features such as a spiral staircase and a gazebo, where the books are now housed... Normal hours, when Jacquemine is not on location, so strictly by appointment.” [12] Pelikas Books was still listed in 1984. [21]

She first worked with the director Henry Herbert as art director on his Malachi's Cove (1973), and worked with him again in the same role on Emily (1976), starring Koo Stark. [22]

Lodwidge helped Daniel Farson with research into the case of Jack the Ripper and caused some surprise by claiming that the serial killer may have been none other than King Leopold II of the Belgians. Her reasons for suspecting him were that his life was scandalous, that he was sadistic in his treatment of the people of the Belgian Congo, and that his house in London may have been the one to which a medium, Robert James Lees, led the police after a psychic experiment to find the killer. [23]

Personal life

On 22 February 1992, Lodwidge married Commander Jake Wright DSC of Shillingford in Oxfordshire. [24] [25] Her husband, a Brooke Bond tea trader who had had a distinguished wartime naval career in motor-torpedo-boats, died in 2008, aged ninety-two. [26]




  1. Register of Births for Langport Registration District, vol. 5c , p. 441: "Lodwidge, Jacqueline [mother's maiden surname] Kermaree"
  2. 1 2 Justice of the Peace and Local Government Review (Justice of the Peace, Limited, 1928), p. 296: "Dr. William Charrott Lodwidge, medical officer of health to the Langport Rural District Council, has resigned, owing to ill-health."
  3. British Medical Journal (1904) p. 1119
  4. Register of Deaths for Canterbury Registration District, vol. 2a, June 1917 quarter, p. 1227: Lodwidge, Sarah Harriet, 49, Canterbury
  5. Langport Cemetery records, Somerset
  6. Register of Births for Basingstoke Registration District, March 1864, vol. 2c, p. 173: Lodwidge, William Charrott
  7. 1 2 Register of Deaths for Yeovil Registration District, vol. 23, September quarter of 1977, p. 1400: "Charrott-Lodwidge Louise Elise M [born 13 October 1894]"
  8. Register of Births for Langport Registration District, vol. 5c (1919) p. 441: Lodwidge Jacqueline [mother's maiden surname] Kermaree
  9. ”Carnival Day at Langport” in Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser dated Wednesday 22 July 1925, p. 8.
  10. Probate Index for 1929 (England): "Lodwidge William Charrott of Langport Somersetshire died 3 April 1929 at the Home of Good Hope Bournemouth Hampshire Probate Taunton 17 May to Louise Elise Marie Lodwidge widow. Effects £883 9s."
  11. Une Française Libre parmi 51449 Jacqueline Lodwidge (Resistance file GR 16 P 374733) at francaislibres.net, accessed 7 November 2017
  12. 1 2 3 4 Roy Harley Lewis, The Book Browser's Guide to Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops (1982), p. 188
  13. ”Portland’s War Record” in Western Gazette dated Friday 14 September 1945, p. 8
  14. “Langport School Plays” in Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser dated Saturday 05 April 1947, p. 8
  15. Punch, Volume 238 (1960), p. 598
  16. ”The Party Planners” in Tatler dated Wednesday 10 October 1962, pp. 28, 29
  17. Andrew Sinclair, The last of the best: the aristocracy of Europe in the twentieth century (London: Macmillan, 1969), p. 186
  18. George Woodcock, The British in the Far East (1969), p. xi; The British in the Middle East (1970), p. xii
  19. Ivor Powell, Astrology in the kitchen (Drake Publishers, 1975), p. 15
  20. David Norris, Jacquemine Charrott-Lodwidge, The Book of Spells (Lorrimer, 1974)
  21. 1984 Annual Directory of Booksellers in the British Isles Specializing in Rare and Out-of-Print Books (The Clique, Cheltenham, 1983), p. 50
  22. 1 2 Mike Kaplan, ed., Variety International Showbusiness Reference (1981), p. 388
  23. King Leopold at casebook.org, accessed 7 December 2017
  24. "Derek George Harbroe Wright and Jacquemine F A M Charrott-Lodwidge", Registration Date February 1992, in Register of Marriages for Bullingdon Registration District, Volume 20, p. 1126
  25. Derek George Harbroe Wright DSC, RNVR at uboat.net, accessed 16 February 2019
  26. Commander Jake Wright (obituary) in The Daily Telegraph dated 26 May 2008
  27. Harris M. Lentz, Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television Credits (2001), p. 915

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