Mrs A.M. Mortimer

AMM square
Alice Mortimer in 1924[1]
Mrs A.M. Mortimer Alice Maud Sewell or Mortimer née Mattin, 53, (1880-1954) had become the general manager of Time and Tide in 1926 and was an advertising expert married to another advertising expert. Her role might have been about to change with the arrival of A.E. Harrison from Cardiff, also as a general manager.

As you would expect from an advertising manager, she had a few good lines too, which perhaps would have worked for many in the room – depending how modest they were by nature – “whilst every era had produced its brilliant women, the women of the present day did not desire to be called brilliant, but were perfectly satisfied to be described as women.”

puzzle-piece2-50It would be good to learn more about her ongoing role at Time and Tide.


As noted, a table of four Time and Tide staff, so the seating arrangement would have been of little importance. It is highly likely she took the opportunity to chat with Eleanor Glidewell and Marion Lyon, on Table 5, both also members of the Women’s Advertising Club of London (WACL), now known as the Women in Advertising and Communications, Leadership as well as both working for Time and Tide during their careers.[2]


She may be wondering about how her role as general manager might change with the expected (?) arrival of Albert Edward Harrison. Perhaps she would concentrate on marketing and advertising with AEH focusing on the business management side?


Alice Maud was, born on 10th March 1880 in Walthamstow to Annie Sarah Pocock, Shoreditch-born c 1850, daughter of a solicitor’s managing clerk and William Mattin, of Marlesford, Suffolk- born c1854, a Hat Band manufacturer. Alice was the youngest of four children, two elder sisters, Edith Mary, born c 1874, Emma, born c 1875, and a brother William Spencer, born 1877.

Alice Maud Mattin, 18, married Walter Mortimer, 29, merchant, in Sidcup on 24th June, St John the Baptist’s Day, 1896. This marriage did not work out well. Walter Mortimer was highly abusive. Their first child, a son, Spencer Allan Mortimer, died soon after birth in 1898. Their second child, daughter Gwendoline Marjorie Mortimer, was born on 2nd April 1900. Alice filed for divorce on her daughter’s first birthday in 1901 and retained custody but sadly Gwendoline died aged 6, in 1907. The court files spell out Walter’s appalling behaviour and he left for Australia after the divorce. As she declared herself a widow when she remarried in 1918, Walter having died in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia in 1917, she may well have kept her first married name after divorce as that would have been her daughter’s name too.

Alice then married Tom Sewell, ( a prominent advertising manager), in Kensington on 11th April 1918 and they lived variously in Museum Chambers Bury St WC1 (1920), 56 Holland Park Avenue, W11, (abode and at time of marriage in 1918) and 37 Berners St, Paddington (probably office) (1921); and by the time of the dinner living in 24 King’s Gardens, Hampstead, NW6.

Alice became the General Manager for T&T in 1926: her 1934 Hutchinson Woman’s Who’s Who entry reads …. “Alice Maud Mortimer….also Mrs T Sewell, journalist: West End representative for the Daily Mirror, General Manager Time and Tide 1926, West End Representative Sunday Referee, (mainly a sports paper) 1932, President and Founder, Women’s Advertising Club (n.b. Marion Lyon was also founder and first President of the WAC in 1923). A member of the Efficiency Club. 24 King’s Gardens, Hampstead, NW6 (1934 and there in 1929 and 1931 with Tom).[3]

The Sheffield Independent of 7th December 1927 carried this little item under the heading: EVE SATISFIED: “At a dinner of the Women’s Advertising Club, London, last night. Mrs. A M. Mortimer said that whilst every era had produced its brilliant women, the women of the present day did not desire to be called brilliant, but were perfectly satisfied to be described as women.”[4]

In early 1928 Alice gave a talk to the Six Point Group on “Women in Advertising” on one of their Tuesday evening  (5pm) sessions at 92 Victoria St. SW1.[5]  The Yorkshire Post gave it good coverage:

“Social work has long enough been recognised a suitable field for the activities of women but on Tuesday afternoon Mrs. Mortimer, President of the Women’s Advertising Club in London, gave to the Six Point Group an address full of information about another type of business in which the prospects for women are yearly becoming better.

Advertising is a calling in which women can create their own careers and salaries largely because in this country it is still comparatively undeveloped. America is of course, the parent of advertising, and Great Britain appears beside her as a mere adolescent. But as more and more the old conservative firms are obliged to adopt the new methods of publicity, so do the opportunities for women increase both in copywriting and in illustrating. The incomes possible for successful women in this field appear quite fantastic when compared with the small and fixed salaries offered by more conventional professions, and since advertising, being imaginative as well as practical, has at the top the same elasticity as the purely artistic professions, such incomes are always capable of increase.

A very special quality of tact of course is needed for this work, as success depends mainly upon the ability to sense the mood of a possible customer. Mrs. Mortimer has made her name in Press work through possessing this ability to a marked degree.”

The column continued….

“I have heard of at least one energetic young woman who left the Conference on the Influence of War Films, arranged by the Women’s International League, to go hear Mrs. Mortimer’s address and then rushed back to the Gate Theatre on the Strand in time to hear Captain Reginald Berkeley deliver his passionate and sincere statement of the case for the production of the film ” Dawn.”  W.H. [6]


If Albert Edward Harrison joined Time and Tide at this time as general manager, perhaps Alice’s role changed. In 1935 she and Tom had moved to 31 Aberdare Gardens, West Hampstead (1935), and in 1945 they were living at 8 Chepstow Mansions, Kensington. She attended the memorial service (along with others from this dinner) of Marion Jean Lyon in 1940.

Tom Sewell was a director of Samson Clark, a pioneering ad agency where several women took the lead. And Alice was a president of the Women’s Advertising Club. In the 1939 census, Alice was listed as Alice M. Sewell, advertising manager for a weekly periodical (Time and Tide?) and Tom was listed as a Director of an advertising services agency, both living at 10, The Grove, Radletts, Herts – along with her brother William S. Mattin, born 24th July 1877 and his wife, born 19th September 1877.

Tom died on 21st June 1950 at 8 Barnstaple Close, Thorpe Bay, Essex (from The Times)[7] – the home of William Spencer and Emily in 1937. Born on 23rd November 1881 he would have been 68. His widow Alice Maud, of 28 Westcliffe Parade, Westcliffe on Sea, died at 23 Marlborough Mansions, Cannon Hill, NW3 on 12th May 1954.


[1] From Advertiser’s Weekly, 29.2.1924, sourced by Dinner Puzzle contributor Lizzie Broadbent from the History of Advertising Trust (HAT). Thank you Lizzie.  

[2] Many thanks to Lizzie Broadbent for pointing out that Eleanor too had worked with T&T in 1926 (as the Advertising Manager), which was the year Alice joined. 

[3] Mrs A.M. Mortimer, Hutchinson’s Woman’s Who’s Who 1934, Hutchinson & Co. London. 

[4] The Sheffield Independent, 7.12.1927, page 1

[5] The Woman Teacher, 10.2.1928, Vol. 9. No. 18 page 155

[6] The Yorkshire Post, 24.2.1928 page 4

[7] The Times, 23.6.1950, page 1

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