Dorothy Crisp (1906–1987) was a right-wing English political figure, writer and publisher.
Born in Leeds on 17 May 1906, the only daughter of Albert Edward Crisp (an examiner) and Annie Beckwith, she was baptised at the Anglican church of St Saviour Richmond Hill, Leeds in June the same year.
She became a public speaker and writer on nationalism, contributing to the National Review in the 1920s. Among her books were The Rebirth of Conservatism (1931) and Why we Lost Singapore (1944). She was a British political commentator with contacts in high places at the Foreign Office.
By the mid-1940s she was famous as the belligerent and outspoken champion of the right-wing British Housewives’ League, whose meetings frequently descended into boos, catcalls and physical tussling for control of the microphones. Hecklers once got so out of hand at the Royal Albert Hall that police were called, though she was later cheered for threatening to throw Aneurin Bevan (then Minister of Health in the Attlee Labour government) over Westminster Bridge if he brought in the National Health Service Act. The police were summoned twice to maintain order at an uproarious meeting in which she expelled several executive members amid shouted accusations of “dictatorship”. She resigned her chairmanship in 1948 on personal grounds, after that the League went into decline.
She was a regular contributor of provocative articles for the Sunday Dispatch; one edition in 1943 was banned in Eire because it contained her criticisms of the de Valera’s government. Crisp fought the Acton by-election, 1943 as an Independent but secured only 707 out of the 8,315 votes cast.
She married John Noel Becker in Westminster, London, during the spring of 1945, but retained her maiden name. Moving to the village of Smarden near Ashford in Kent, she gave birth to a daughter (Elizabeth) in 1946, to whom the Conservative MP Ida Copeland was godmother.
She was subject of a patronising article referring to her as “the buxom, brown-eyed, voluble little woman”, by Gordon Beckles, published in the 12 July 1947 issue of Leader Magazine under the title of “Housewife of England!”. It featured a photo of her giving a speech on behalf of the British Housewives’ League.
In 1947 she won substantial damages for libel against the New Statesman and the following year was halfway through a similar case against the Daily Herald and expecting her son (John) when her 48-year-old husband, a senior assistant in Watts & Co, was shot dead in Singapore on 24 October 1948. He had been helping the police arrest a crazed man, an intruder in his office in Robinson Road (he was a special constable), when he was shot in the struggle. Because he was off-duty at the time the government denied her a pension, but after a three-year struggle she finally got £500 p.a. By then she was bankrupt, her publishing company had folded and the libel case abandoned. She was convicted of misdemeanours under the Bankruptcy Act (obtaining credit while an un-discharged bankrupt) in 1958 and twice again in the 1960s and served three terms in Holloway Prison. Her prison memories, A Light in the Night (1960) best stainless steel bottle, describe conditions in Holloway in order to call attention to the need of prison reform.
She later lived in Sussex for about fifteen years during the 1950s and 1960s. During this period she at one time lived at Overs Farmhouse, Barcombe; Jigg’s Cottage, Jevington; and Woodland Drive in Hove. Around 1975 she moved to Oxford, after which no more is known. However, she appears to have returned to London and died in Fulham in May 1987 aged 81. It has been said that Dorothy Crisp is the historical figure who most resembles Margaret Thatcher.
The Rebirth of Conservatism, 1931, Methuen, London 203p, with five essays from the universities and a conclusion by Oliver Stanley, with an introduction by John Buchan
England – Mightier Yet, 1939, The National Review, 232p, (an analysis of the problems confronting the British Government).
Christ is no Pacifist: the Religious and Secular Case against Pacifism, 1939 London: Boswell Publishing Co. Ltd.,
Thieves by the Grace of God, a novel, exposing the great injustices of our times, the story of re-housing, Boswell Publishing Co. Ltd
England’s Purpose, 1941, Rich & Cowan, 191p, English characteristics, ‘Privately, the Englishman will agree with everything she writes,’ review in The Belfast Telegraph,
Aprons of Fig Leaves, 1942, a novel
The Future of Europe 1944, Keliher, Hudson & Kearns, Ltd, London, 36p booklet,- author’s analysis and thoughts on the (then) current situation in Europe and the future, particularly in relation to Poland.
Why we lost Singapore 1945, Dorothy Crisp & Co., London padded goalie gloves, 178p Bracelets Bangle, comprises newspaper articles written in 1942 and 1943 author examines in some detail the political, economic and military situations both prior to, and during the war.
The Commonsense of Christianity 1945, Rich & Cowan, London, 126p,
A Life for England, 1946, Dorothy Crisp & Co., London, 311p, biography, the causes of the discontents for which the author suggests the remedy.
The Path for England, 1947 black cocktail dress, Dorothy Crisp & Co., London, 174p,
A Light in the Night, 1960, Holborn Publishing Co. Ltd, London, 156p, prison memories describe conditions in Holloway in order to call attention to the need of prison reform.
The Dominance of England, 1960, Holborn Publishing Co. Ltd London, author’s post war political and statistical analysis of Britain’s role, contribution and relationships with Allies, particularly the USA, during the World War 1939-1945,
Truth Too Near the Heels, 1986, Spider Web (London 184 Munster Road SW6 6AU), 260p,
Old Mrs Warren, Faith Wolseley, 1939, 324p, a humorous novel
Thus My Orient, (12 short stories), Hubert S Banner, 1947, 220p
Stony Ground, John Norwood, 1946, The Australia Book for English Boys & Girls (and Their Parents), 158p
With the Fourteenth Army, D F Karaka, 1945, first account of the Burma Campaign, not a war book, or authoritative treatise on the 14th Army, just a personal diary. 85p
Empire Relations – The Peter Le Neve Foster Lecture, Delivered on the 3rd June 1942, at the Royal Society of Arts by The Right Hon. The Viscount Bennett, P.C.,K.C., R. B. Bennett 1945 43p,
Song of the City, 1943, Peter Abrahams (South African author) Novel, 179p One of South Africa’s most prominent black writers,
Mine Boy, 1946, Peter Abrahams, his seminal novel, the first author to bring the horrific reality of South Africa’s apartheid system of racial discrimination to international attention.
By Parachute to Warsaw, Marek Celt -pen name of Tadeusz Chciuk-Celt, 1945, Polish National Hero & wartime agent. The author’s eye-witness account of conditions in Poland on his second parachute courier mission in April–July 1944.
Between Tears and Laughter, Lin Yutang, 1945, Chinese author & Inventor, written during World War II, was his bitter plea for the west to change its perspective of the world order.
One Hour of Justice, Arthur Cecil Alport, 1946, 311p, a denunciation of the living conditions of the Egyptian poor, by the late professor of clinical medicine, University of Cairo
A Police Background, 1947, Rene H Onraet, a former Inspector-General of Police, Straits Settlement 1935-39