"How I came to work for Halas & Batchelor" - Jenny Reyn

Jenny Reyn image

I first got the hint of a woman called Jenny working at Halas & Batchelor during the war in this interview with animators Liz and Dick Horn. Liz, says that when she joined the fledging company it had just two animators (other than John and Joy) Harold Mack and "a lovely girl called Jenny - I became her assistant". The name was new to me and a bit of googling led me to this profile piece from the excellent Bear Alley website in which I learnt that Jenny Reyn was the professional name of an Edna Reynolds, later Edna Clarke after her marriage.

It turns out that her animation career was a short one, pretty much just the length of the war, and she brought it to a close herself when her first child was expected. When she began working again after her second child she carved out a career as an illustrator in a variety of children's books and comics - some examples of which are on the Bear Alley article above.

I contacted Edna/Jenny's family via her grand-daughter (also an illustrator in a clearly talented family line) who was kind enough to share part of a memoir that her grandmother wrote which talks about her time at H&B. I am delighted that the family have given permission for us to share these pages on the blog.

I am including all the pages as I think to have so much context around why and how somebody came to join the animation industry at this time is priceless, but if you want to skip ahead she joins H&B on page 3. I will even refrain from my usual annotations beyond to say that the "Ian Mackenzie" she describes on page 5 is actually Alexander Mackendrick the famed Ealing director who began his career at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency which H&B had links with at this time. I will also add that I think Harold Mack gets a bit of a short shrift - he is the union agitator "Mac" on page 4. Harold worked at a few other British studios before moving to Holland and starting the Anglo-Dutch Group with his wife Pamela.

If you are having any trouble reading the original then it is transcribed here.

Page 1
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 1 Page 2
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 2 Page 3
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 3 Page 4
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 4 Page 5
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 5 Page 6
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 6 Page 7
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 7 Page 8
Jenny Reyn Memoir Page 8

Jez

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