ESTHER McCRACKEN

(1902 - 1971)

Return to Quiet Wedding 1967

  

Esther McCracken (nee Armstrong) was born in Newcastle and attended the Central High School, where she won the cricket-ball throwing competition every year. She was small, red-headed and full of spirit. On the BBC Brains Trust programme, the formidable Professor Joad (with whom Jack Common debated on radio) once asked her: 'Have you read Aristotle's Poetics?' She replied: 'Do I look like it?' Esther acted with the Newcastle Repertory Company from 1924 until 1937. Her first play The Willing Spirit was produced in 1936, but it was with Quiet Wedding in 1938 that her reputation as a writer of domestic comedy was made. Other successes included Quiet Weekend (1941) and No Medals (1944).

She married Angus McCracken, a famous northern rugby player and accountant in 1936, but he was killed in action in 1943. In the following year, she married Mungo Campbell, the shipping magnate. Nancy Spain (q.v.) describes him as having the face of a very attractive Highland bull. 'And of course she was never unhappy again. And she was unable to write a single solitary line...' Esther went on to introduce What Cheor Geordie, which ran from 1940 to 1956. The signature tune was the very popular 'Wherever ye gaan, you're sure to meet a Geordie'.

The initials of Esther, her husband and that of a friend are included in the name of MEA House in Ellison Place, Newcastle, which was set up through their efforts. This is the first British building purpose-built to house a range of voluntary services.