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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Charlotte Hough (1924-2008)

Children's book writer and illustrator Charlotte Hough died on 31 December 2008, aged 84.

She was born Helen Charlotte Woodyatt in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, on 24 May 1924. Her father, a local doctor then aged 50, refused to have any part in her upbringing which was left to the young widow he had married. She attended Frensham Heights school but left early to join the WRNS. She was in uniform when she met and married Richard Hough, who was in the RAF.

Their early marriage was a struggle, although Richard would later make his mark as a biographer. The couple had four children to raise (one other child was still-born) and Charlotte had to work from home. She could draw and hawked her sketches to various publishers, picking up work from Bodley Head and Oxford University Press. In 1956, her first self-penned book was accepted by Faber & Faber. She continued to write, always illustrating her own books, until the late 1970s. Her next book was a murder mystery for adults, The Bassington Murder.

When her marriage ended in an unhappy divorce, Hough took up voluntary work. She became a Samaritan in Kent and became particularly fond of one woman whom she visited. Annetta Harding was crippled with arthritis and nearly blind and intended taking her own life when things got too much for her. Hough offered to look after her in her last hours and planned to leave the house. Harding took an overdose of pills and fell into a coma; several plastic bags, which Harding intended to use to suffocate herself with, lay nearby and Hough, realising that Harding was still breathing, completed the task for her. Harding stopped breathing almost at once and, removing the bag, Hough left.

Hough admitted to a Samaritan friend what she had done. Although sworn to secrecy, the woman reported the matter to the director of the branch, who informed the police. Hough was charged with murder, but found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to nine months of which she served six. On her release she gave up writing and became a campaigner for better conditions as a member of the PEN organisation.

She is survived by three daughters, one the novelist Deborah Moggach.

Obituaries: The Times (7 January).

Novels
The Bassington Murder. London, Elek, 1980.

Illustrated Books (illustrated by the author)
Jim Tiger. London, Faber & Faber, 1956.
The Home-Makers. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1957.
Morton's Pony. London, Faber & Faber, 1957.
The Hampshire Pig. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1958.
The Story of Mr. Pinks. London, Faber & Faber, 1958.
The Animal Game. London, Faber & Faber, 1959.
The Trackers. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1960.
Algernon. London, Faber & Faber, 1961.
Anne and Minnie. London, Faber & Faber, 1962.
Three Little Funny Ones. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1962.
The Owl in the Barn. London, Faber & Faber, 1964.
More Funny Ones. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1965.
Red Biddy, and other stories. London, Faber, 1966.
Educating Flora, and other stories. London, Faber, 1968.
Sir Frog, and other stories. London, Faber, 1968.
My Aunt's Alphabet, with Billie and Me. London, Hamilton, 1969.
A Bad Child's Book of Moral Verse. London, Faber, 1970.
Queer Customer. London, Heinemann, 1972.
Bad Cat. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1975.
Pink Pig. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1975.
Charlotte Hough's Holiday Book. London, Heinemann, 1975; as The Holiday Story Book, London, Beaver Books, 1976.
Wonky Donkey. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1975.
The Mixture as Before. London, Heinemann, 1976.
Verse and Various. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1979.

Illustrations
The House on the Moor by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1948.
The 13th Adventure by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1949.
Miss Hooper's Hoop, and other poems by W. B. Rands. Bushey, Tudor Press, 1949.
The Adventures of Tommy. The Cat Who Went to Sea by Lillian Miozzi, trans. by Rose Fyleman. London, Bodley Head, 1950.
Steeple Folly by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1950.
Barry's Exciting Year by A. Stephen Tring. London, Oxford University Press, 1951.
Castaway Camp by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1951.
I Carried the Horn by Christine Pullein Thompson. London, Collins, 1951.
Land of Ponies by Marjorie M. Oliver. London, Country Life, 1951.
The Perfect Pest by Glenda Spooner. London, Jonathan Cape, 1951.
Barry Gets His Wish by A. Stephen Tring. London, Oxford University Press, 1952.
Goodbye to Hounds by Christine Pullein Thompson. London, Collins, 1952.
Hunter's Moon by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1952.
Mystery at Winton's Park by Lorna Lewis. London, William Heinemann, 1952.
Prince Among Ponies by Josephine Pullein Thompson. London, Collins, 1952.
Smoky Joe by Laurence Meynell. London, Bodley Head, 1952.
Two of Us by Janet Branford. London, William Heinemann, 1952.
The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Ayme; trans. by Norman Denny. London, Bodley Head, 1952.
The Barnstormers by M. E. Atkinson. London, Bodley Head, 1953.
The Enchanted Horse by April Jaffe. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1953.
Five Proud Riders by Ann Stafford. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1953.
Hotel Doorway by Lorna Lewis. London, Oxford University Press, 1953.
Peril on the Iron Road by Bruce Carter. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1953.
Smoky Joe in Trouble by Laurence Meynell. London, Bodley Head, 1953.
The Sheep-Dog Adventure by Ethelind Fearon. London, Lutterworth Press, 1953.
Barry's Great Day by A. Stephen Tring. London, Oxford University Press, 1954.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1954.
Riders from Afar by Christine Pullein Thompson. London, Collins, 1954.
Elephant Big and Elephant Little, and other stories. London, Bodley Head, 1955.
Gunpowder Tunnel by Bruce Carter. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1955.
The Little Yellow Jungle Frogs, and other stories by Anita Hewett. London, Bodley Head, 1956.
The Boy with the Green Thumb by Barbara Euphan Todd. London, Hamish Hamilton, 1956.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. London, Wiedenfeld & Nicolson, 1956.
Time for a Story, ed. Eileen Colwell. Harmondsworth, Puffin Books, 1967.
The Anita Hewett Animal Story Book, illus. with Margery Gill. London, Bodley Head, 1972; as The Puffin Book of Animal Stories, London, Puffin Books, 1988.
Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands by Richard Hough. London, Dent, 1975.

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