Saturday, February 05, 2011

Jackson Budd

Jackson Budd was a thriller writer in the 1930s. In The Author's and Writer's Who's Who he is listed as W. Jackson Budd, born in London. The only additional information is that he was a civil servant, working in Customs and Excise. In 1938 he became Chairman of the Society of Civil and Public Service Authors.

The British Library and various other sources, including copyright records, give his name as William John Budd and his year of birth as 1898. The only problem is that he's impossible to find from this information. And some records give his name as W. Jackson Budd and even as Wallace Jackson Budd. Both Jackson Budd and Wallace Jackson were pen-names used for his novels.

The only other clue is that he was married with two daughters, and it was partly from this information that I think I've managed to find out at least a little about him.

I think, but I'm not absolutely certain, that he was born in West Ham in 1896. In the early 1930s [1932/36] he lived at Plemont, Ethelbert Gardens, Ilford, Essex before moving to 129 Robin Hood Way, Kingston, London SW15, where he is listed between 1938 and 1960. This makes me suspect that he is the William J. Budd whose death is listed in Surrey in 1960, aged 63.

The reason this may be correct is that in 1962-63, the phone books lists a Mrs. M. Budd at 129 Robin Hood Way. She then appears to move to 30 Ethelbert Gardens, Gants Hill where she lived from 1963-81. Here she is listed as M. C. Budd and the death of Mary Clara Budd was registered in Redbridge in 1981. She was born Mabel Clara Skillan in West Ham on 22 August 1898 and married William J. Budd in West Ham in 1923. Two daughters followed: Pamela W. S. Budd (later Edwards; b. Romford, 1925) and Hilary Eleanor Skillan Budd (later Crook; b. Romford, 1930).

So we have a William J. Budd born in London (although West Ham is technically Essex, but has long been considered part of Greater London), married with two daughters.

I've not read any of Budd's novels, although I've seen one or two reviews. His first novel, I Stood in the Shadow of the Black Cap, is a thriller about an innocent man facing execution; The Princely Quartet is a romance set around the adventures of a touring party. Precious Company is described thus: "Berlin, Moscow, Paris, the Essex coast and the slums of Whitechapel all figure in this story of attempts to steal Russian crown jewels of inestimable value en route for London. Embroiled in this atmosphere of murder, headlong flight and close pursuit is Hugh Conway, a young engineer, whose perils, fantastic though they may be, are so graphically depicted by Mr. Jackson Budd that it is difficult to put the book down. (The Times, 6 September 1938).

Two of his novels were filmed: A Convict Has Escaped was filmed as the gritty, British film noir They Made Me a Fugitive (1947) with Trevor Howard as an ex-RAF pilot who gets involved with a gang who frame him over the death of a policeman. Budd also adapted his own novel The Gold Express when it was filmed by Guy Fergusson and Colin Bell in 1955. Budd, credited as Jackson C. Budd, also wrote Dick Barton at Bay (1950), featuring Don Stannard as the famous special agent.

Budd's later books, Around France in an 8 h.p. Car and The Story of Professor X, were self-published, as Stonevale Publications were based at his home address of 129 Robin Hood Way.

Hopefully I've not been following a red herring... if anyone can confirm any of the above, that would be most welcome.


Novels as Jackson Budd
I Stood in the Shadow of the Black Cap. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1932; as The Gallows Waits, New York, Putnam, 1932.
The Princely Quartet. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1932.
Tragedy in a Brick Box.  London, Sampson Low & Co., 1933.
Daughter of Illusion. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1934.
The Three Jolly Vagabonds. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1935.
Grand Ballyhoo. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1936?
The Gold Express. London, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1937.
A Wife in Toledo. London, Sampson Low & Co., 1938.
Precious Company. London, Michael Joseph, 1938.
The Dark Horseman. London, Michael Joseph, 1939.
A Convict Has Escaped. London, Michael Joseph, 1941.
John Lisbon, Agent. London, Michael Joseph, 1942.
The Story of Professor X. London, Stonevale Publications, 1951.

Novels as Wallace Jackson (series: Insp. Clancy Martin; Archibald Penny)
Two Knocks for Death (Martin). London, Sampson Low & Co., 1934.
The Zadda Street Affair (Penny). London, Sampson Low & Co., 1934. 
The Extraordinary Case of Mr. Bell (Penny). London, Sampson Low & Co., 1935. 
The Diamonds of Death (Martin). London, Sampson Low & Co., 1936.
The Sinister Madonna (Martin). London, Sampson Low & Co., 1937.

Non-fiction as Jackson Budd
Around France in an 8 h.p. Car. London, Stonevale Publications, 1950.

The Girl with Red Hair
Professor X
The Gold Express (screenplay), 1955.


  1. Just to let you know I am Jackson Budds grand daughter, daughter of Hilary. I was very excited to see your entry about my grandfather and it is very accurate. Both my mum Hilary and my aunt Pam are still very much alive and so would have any more information od you needed it. I am very grateful to you for documenting his achievements, I sadly never met home as he died in 1960 and I was born in 1963. Barbara Claessens New Crook

  2. Hi Barabara,

    I'd love to know more. If you or your mum or your aunt want to drop me a line, you (or they) can at the bearalley address under the pic above left. I look forward to hearing from you.





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