Eileen Ascroft (1914 – 29 April 1962) was a journalist and writer.

Ascroft worked as a journalist at the Daily Mirror, where she met her second husband, Hugh Cudlipp; the couple married in 1945.[1] (Her first husband was the film director Alexander Mackendrick.) In her book about Cudlipp, Newspapermen, Ruth Dudley Edwards describes Ascroft as "blonde, talented and ambitious".[2] Ascroft was sacked from the Mirror by the Editorial Director, Harry Guy Bartholomew, for using his oak office door as a dartboard.[3] 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".[4] According to an obituary notice in The Times, "she could also pilot an aeroplane, having learnt to do so in an idle spell in Australia".[5]

Ascroft died in April 1962, aged 47.[5] At an inquest, her death was ruled to accidental, from an unintended overdose of sleeping pills.[6] Her book, The Magic Key to Charm (1938), is a collection of her journalism for women published by the Mirror.


  1. ^ Griffiths, Dennis, ed. (1992). The Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422–1992. London & Basingstoke: Macmillsn. p. 179.
  2. ^ Edwards, Ruth Dudley: Newspapermen, Secker and Warburg, 2003
  3. ^ Cudlipp, Hugh Walking on the Water Bodley Head, 1976
  4. ^ New Statesman, 3 February 1961
  5. ^ a b "Miss Eileen Ascroft". The Times. 30 April 1962. p. 20. Retrieved 16 August 2017. (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Accidental Death of Miss Ascroft: Overdose of Sleeping Tablets". The Times. 4 May 1962. p. 6. Retrieved 16 August 2017. (subscription required)