Jill Craigie

Jill Craigie bigraphy, stories - British film director

Jill Craigie : biography

7 March 1914 – 13 December 1999

Jill Craigie (7 March 1911 – 13 December 1999) was an English documentary film director, screenwriter and feminist. She married Labour Party politician Michael Foot (1913–2010), whom she met during the making of her film The Way We Live.


The archives of Jill Craigie are held at The Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University, ref


  • The Flemish Farm (1943), screenwriter (credited as "Jill Dell")
  • Out of Chaos (1944)
  • The Way We Live (1946)
  • Children of the Ruins (1948)
  • Blue Scar (1949)
  • To Be a Woman (1951)
  • The Million Pound Note (1953), screenwriter
  • Trouble in Store (1953), uncredited screenwriter
  • Windom’s Way (1957), screenwriter
  • Two Hours from London (1995)


Born Noreen Jean Craigie to a Russian mother and a Scottish father in Fulham, London, Jill Craigie started her career in film as an actress.

She became politicised because of the events of the 1930s and she turned to filmmaking. Her films depicted her socialist leanings and dealt with left-wing topics such as child refugees, working conditions for miners, and gender equality. After directing five films and writing two others, Craigie retired from the film business for almost forty years, returning to make a single film for BBC television.

Craigie was one of the scriptwriters of Trouble in Store, Norman Wisdom’s film debut, which screened in December 1953. The film broke box office records at 51 out of the 67 London cinemas in which it played. Family Britain 1951-1957 by David Kynaston, Bloomsbury, 2009 p353 ISBN 978-1-4088-0083-6 After writing the first draft of the script, Craigie reportedly asked that her name be removed from the credits after learning of Wisdom’s participation.Tom Vallance The Independent, 15 December 1999

In latter years Craigie became an authority on the suffragette movement, holding a large collection of feminist literature in Britain, with pamphlets dating back to John Stuart Mill.

Craigie had a daughter, Julie, from her first marriage. She and Michael Foot had no children together, but enjoyed family life with Julie and, later, her four children. They lived in a flat in Hampstead, north London, and in a cottage in Ebbw Vale, South Wales.

In 1998, a biography of the late Hungarian-born writer Arthur Koestler by David Cesarani alleged Koestler had been a serial rapist and that Craigie had been one of his victims in 1951. Craigie confirmed the allegations.

Craigie died in 1999 of heart failure at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London.