Elizabeth Hayklan (nee Cochrane)

Artist with connections!

So what have  Robert the Bruce, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton and the Titanic in common with this Benfleet artist and poet? 

(Marjorie) Elizabeth Hayklan (Nee Cochrane) was born in 1900, (a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce), and was educated at the North London Collegiate School for Girls, where she met and became life-long friends with the authors Marjorie Allingham and Stella Gibbons. Her talent however lay in the field of art. Rather than take up a place at the Royal Academy, she opted for the London Polytechnic, where in her first year she was awarded the Industrial Arts prize for design.

Other claims to fame include lunching with her parents at the Captain’s table aboard the  Titanic, the day prior to sailing and being on Hitler’s death list should an invasion have been successful.

“Jeri” of the Daily Sketch

She was the creator of the first pocket cartoon, “Impossible People,” and composed a daily cartoon for the Daily Sketch under her pen name “Jeri”, between 1922 and 1942. She produced over 5600 cartoons, of which a selection were published in book form (“Impossible People”) in 1938.

Later Artistic Life

She later earned her living as an illustrator and from commissions for both portraits and landscapes. A founder member of the Estuary Group, she exhibited at the Royal Academy and other leading galleries.

Personal Life in Benfleet

In 1933 she married Michael Hayklan and had six children. From about 1954 she lived in “The Old House,” a five bedroomed, black-boarded house, reputed to have been built by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn and later visited by Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. At the turn of the 19th/20th century it was purchased by another artist, the Austrian, Peter Paul Hupner.

In 1971 Elizabeth, often referred to as Mama Hayklan, offered to sell the house to the council, hoping that  they would use it as a museum, library and meeting place.  The noise of traffic in the station carpark was no longer conducive to her painting and she feared the possibility of listed status, which might reduce its value.  The house was  demolished to make way for the bottom exit of the station car park.

Michael Hayklan is listed in the telephone directories for 1970 and 1971 as living at 85 High Street, which was the postal address for the Old House.  Previously the family had lived in “The Terrace” when they were railway worker’s cottages. Coincidently it was Stefan, Elizabeth’s elder son who replaced them with the current houses. Later Stefan was to win an architectural award for the design of the houses built in the grounds of the Old Vicarage in Vicarage Hill (where else !). Elizabeth died in Norfolk in 1995.

Portrait by Michael Peter Jones, the son-in-law of Karina Hayklan, Elizabeth's oldest daughter.
Elizabeth Hayklan
Sample from the book
Elizabeth Hayklan
The Book (1938)
Elizabeth Hayklan
Hoy and Helmet - signed "Cochrane"
courtesy of Ted Cook
Benfleet water-front, signed "Cochrane"
Courtesy of Ted Cook
Level Crossing, Signed "Cochrane"
courtesy of Ted Cook
Elizabeth Hayklan inside her historic house, c.1971
The Old House
Karina Hayklan
"Thames barge" courtesy of Mrs Renaut
Thames Barges courtesy of Dr Miroslav Imbrisevic
Barge at rest
courtesy of Pete Renaut
Marjorie Hayklan outside her historic house
Echo News
Marjorie Hayklan, artist
Echo News
Picture supplied by Mike Dawson - see comment below
Mike Dawson

Comments about this page

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  • My Grandmother…

    By Sasha King (09/12/2022)
  • Dear Webmaster,

    Elizabeth Cochrane more correctly ought to be expressed as Elizabeth Cochrane R.A., as she was a member of the Royal Academy, since some of her work had been “Hung”, therein.

    I knew her rather well, towards the later time of her life, in the early 1970s, until she passed away, sadly.

    I have one of her original signed oils and when I have some time, will photograph this and tell the story behind the work: Mama Hayklan most kindly gave this to me on the occasion of my birthday, back in the 1970s.

    More anon.

    Michael C Feltham FFA, FIPA

    By Michael C Feltham (06/10/2018)
  • Hi, I have a beautiful watercolour painting by (Marjorie) Elizabeth Hayklan dated 1925 which has been in my family since then. Its very different from those above; would you like me to send a jpg for your site? 

    By Mike Dawson (10/10/2017)
  • Hi, I’m the daughter of Audrey Fegan who worked with Stefan for many years, I have two of her paintings, one of which was given to me in 1978 as a wedding present, also I have a lovely memory of visiting the old house with my Mum when I was a child.

    By Carol Sinclair (16/08/2017)
  • Pauline, I am Karina, Elizabeth Cochrane’s eldest daughter. I have just completed a book about her life, artwork and cartoons. As Nikki said, we all have many examples of her work and I sell her etchings. I also published an anthology of her poems – my ‘e’ is on my website.

    By Karina Hayklan (11/08/2014)
  • Hi,  Reference your comment regarding your Uncle’s Cousin Jeri Cochrane I am one of her children and she often spoke of Jack Topham.  We still have her art work and copies of her cartoons. Regards Nikki Webb

    By Nikki Webb (10/08/2014)
  • Interesting to me as she was my father’s cousin. I have a watercolour done on a wet day from the rear window of our house at Waterside, Knaresborough, Yorkshire, probably about 1926/7. I always knew her as Cousin Jeri, not Elizabeth. Her Husband was a furrier and I think a Russian exile.

    By Pauline Topham (03/08/2014)
  • That’s my Grandma! I still have some of her art work from when she was much younger.

    By Guyon (20/07/2014)

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