How easily women’s achievements are downplayed or hidden from view. Joan Clarkson’s name is on the list of women who volunteered for the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service I gleaned from the 1939 Register (a cut-down version of the census). She was 37 and living with her mother in a flat at 73 Whitelands House, Cheltenham Terrace in Chelsea; she was described simply as “Assistant Editor”.
I have not yet discovered what Joan Clarkson was editing in 1939 but I did find out that she was the 4th woman to be called to the bar in England (1925), the first woman barrister to appear in wig and gown before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (1926) and the first woman to be given the Freedom of the City of London (1927). None of that is conveyed in “Assistant Editor”.
Like many of the upper-class women wartime ambulance drivers whose mini-bios I have written for this series, Joan was the daughter of an eminent military man. But she was also, through her mother, the granddaughter of a distinguished barrister, Sir John Eldon Gorst.
One of the few newspaper references to her practice that I can find has her appearing for Lady Ankaret Cecilia Caroline Jackson (herself a barrister) in a libel action against the National Magazine Company in 1930.
Apparently she joined the Midland circuit and remained in the Law List until 1953. She died in Bradford on Avon in 1980.