Miss Marion Jean Lyon

Marion-Jean-Lyon
Marion Jean Lyon in 1923 (Magforum.com)[1]
Marion Jean Lyon, 48, (1885-1940) was the Advertising Manager of Punch magazine from 1922, the first woman to reach such a senior position in the UK world of advertising. A year later she became the first President of the Woman’s Advertising Club in London, which she had helped found. In 1923 she also married Leonard Raven-Hill, the notable Punch cartoonist. From 1926 she joined the Board of Time and Tide to help strengthen its positioning in the market. In the spirit of our dinner guests, a true high flier and pioneer. A remarkable illustration of the ever-increasing part women are playing in business life”. Perhaps the organiser of this table.

Seated Beside…

If she had indeed been the main organiser of the guests at this table then she might have sat with those she knew the least: which might mean the Warner-Allens and Eleanor Glidewell. In contrast she probably knew her namesake Mrs L. Raven-Hill, her husband’s India-born daughter-in-law Marguerite, who had now been in the UK for eight years, quite well and Laura Wallis Mills, actress but also daughter of the renowned cartoonist Wallis-Mills (notable for some of his cartoons during the suffragette period) and who was probably well known to her husband. That said, it is equally possible that while she knew of Marguerite and Laura through her husband’s family and professional links, she might not have actually spent much time with them – both being twenty-seven years her junior. Form perhaps, if she were the “hostess”, would see her seated with the sole gentleman on the table, Herbert Warner Allen, who undoubtedly could have advised her on the quality of the wine being served.

What’s On Her Mind?

As an advertising manager she will have been in the forefront of making sure Punch and Time and Tide were able to build circulation in a weak economy. Perhaps Warner Allen was interested to hear how he could increase the circulation of his books, having retired from journalism but now writing his third, on sherry. If she were the host she might have been the one to offer a toast to the birthday (the day before) of Eleanor – if she knew.

Marion’s Story So Far

Marion Jean Lyon was born on 15th January 1885 at Wallacebank Cottage, Townhead, Strathaven, Lanarkshire, to Marion Lyon née Young and Andrew Wallace Lyon, solicitor and notary public. She had three sisters Jessie (3 years her senior, who emigrated to the US) and Anne May (7 years her junior), and sister Eleanor Agnes who died in infancy,  and two brothers: the younger brother Francis Andrew (8 years her junior) died in 1918 in France with the Australian contingent.[2] As Dinner Puzzle contributor Helen Walasek has pointed out, her elder brother, (Capt) J. Wallace Lyon became a manager of the Berwick branch of the National Bank of Scotland. He died in 1940 (6 August 1940) six months after Marion. Several articles on him in the press make reference to his sister Marion and her success as a businesswoman.  Marion is the star.

Marion moved to London in about 1906 where she worked for the Remington Company and then Paul E. Derrick Ltd before joining Punch in 1910 as chief assistant to the advertisement manager, Roy Somerville.[3]

punch.png
Marion Jean Lyon at Punch ©magforum.com[4]

On the death of Roy Somerville in 1922 Marion succeeded him as Punch’s advertising manager, a notable achievement at the time for a woman in the business world. The Spectator wrote at the time:

“A remarkable illustration of the ever-increasing part women are playing in business life is afforded by the appointment of Miss Marion Jean Lyon, a Scotswoman who came to London 16 years ago, to the position of advertising manager of Punch. Joining the office staff of Punch 12 years ago, Miss Lyon gradually worked her way upwards till she was made assistant to the late advertising manager, Mr Roy Somervell [sic]. She has recently been appointed to the vacant position, to the great satisfaction of all those who had experience of her business ability. The position of advertising manager of Punch is one of the most important and highly paid in Fleet Street and it is interesting to find that a woman has won it. In America many highly-paid journalistic positions are held by women, but in England, until recent years, on the business side at least, women have been conspicuous by their absence”.[5]

In 1923 Marion married Punch cartoonist Leonard Raven-Hill, the year after his first wife died. In the same year she helped found, and became the first president of the Women’s Advertising Club of London, WACL, still going today as Women in Advertising and Communications, London. Time and Time general manager, Mrs. A.M. Mortimer, Table 19, was elected President of WACL in 1927. [6]

Marion joined the Board of Time and Tide in 1926, injecting new blood into its thinking at a time when there was a debate as to the future of the paper: she is first listed in its issue of 13th August 1926. [7] [8]  In 1927 Lady Rhondda was one of the key speakers at the WACL luncheon for overseas business women at The Savoy Hotel.  At the time of the dinner Marion and Leonard were living in Holborn at 46 Bedford Court Mansions, Bedford Avenue, Holborn.

What Marion Did Next

Dinner Puzzle contributor Helen Walasek also tells us that “E.M. Delafield dedicated one of her books, “General Impressions”, to Lyon in 1933, the year Delafield started contributing to Punch magazine. The dedication is in one of the many variations of her name: Jean Raven-Hill. In “Life Errant” Cicely Hamilton cites Jean Raven-Hill as one of her closest friends from her association with Time and Tide.”

 

Leonard and Marion_Ancestry.v.2
Marion Jean Lyon and Leonard Raven-Hill, from the Lyon Family Collection, with kind permission

Marion, then of 6 Campden Hill Gate, died at the age of 55 on 20th February 1940, at the Southcliffe Hotel, Southcliffe Road, Bournemouth (probate notes she was known as Jean Raven, Marion Jean Raven). At her memorial service in 1940 amongst the large turnout were Viscountess Rhondda, Miss Cicely Hamilton, Miss Eva Moore, Mrs A.M. Mortimer, and Miss A.M. Burton, representatives of Lord Camrose and Lord Kemsley (previously Sir Gomer Berry), Miss Lorna Lewis representing E.M. Delafield, Mr A.L. Raven-Hill representing Mr. Leonard Raven-Hill (Marion’s husband) – so six fellow dinner guests from 1933 present and four more represented – almost all from the top table. So the Time and Tide team were out in force, plus our artist of the evening. A good send off.

BACK TO TABLE 5


[1] When a woman rules the roost for Punch ad sales – accessed 12.1.2018 https://magforum.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/when-a-woman-ruled-the-roost-for-punch-ad-sales/

[2] Website for Lost Ancestors , source War Memorial, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, accessed 3.2.2018

[3] Lyon, Marion Jean, -1940, advertising manager of ‘Punch’; wife of Leonard Raven-Hill accessed 27.1.2019

[4] When a woman rules the roost for Punch ad sales – accessed 12.1.2018

[5] Women in Business http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/21st-october-1922/37/women-in-business

[6] Women in Advertising and Communications, London WACL, History of Advertising Trust, accessed 12.2.2018, https://www.hatads.org.uk/catalogue/clubs-associations/41/Women-in-Advertising-and-Communications-London-WACL

[7] Angela V. John (2013), Turning the Tide, Cardigan, Parthian, p303

[8] Thank you to Catherine Clay for this information.

2 thoughts on “Miss Marion Jean Lyon

  1. Marion Jean Lyon also had a brother, (Capt) J. Wallace Lyon who became manager of the Berwick branch of the National Bank of Scotland. He also died in 1940 (6 August 1940). There is quite a lot on him in the local press (British Newspaper Archives), and articles sometimes cite his relationship with Marion noting her success as a businesswoman. . E M Delafield dedicated one of her books, “General Impressions”, to Lyon in 1933, the year Delafield started contributing to Punch magazine. The dedication is in one of the many variations of her name: Jean Raven-Hill. In “Life Errant” Cicely Hamilton cites Jean Raven-Hill as one of her closest friends from her association with Time and Tide.

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  2. Thank you Helen, that is really helpful, adding to the family information as well as the strong relations we hadn’t identified with E.M. Delafield and Cicely Hamilton. The entry on the site has been updated, as well as the entries for EMD and Cicely Hamilton.

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