Birth

1 August 1877Hartlepool, County Durham, England, United Kingdom

Death

17 March 1993Hartlepool, County Durham, England, , United Kingdom

Age

115

Charlotte Hughes

Charlotte Marion Hughes was a British supercentenarian who, at the age of 115 years, 228 days, holds the record as the longest-lived person from the United Kingdom ever documented.

At the time of her death, Hughes was the second-oldest living person in the world (after Jeanne Calment of France) and was validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was also the world’s last surviving person born in 1877 and the last surviving British person born in the 1870s.

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Biography

Charlotte Marion Hughes was born on 1 August 1877 in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. She grew up in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, where her father ran a music shop. At the age of 13, she gained employment in a religious school where she worked as an English teacher until her retirement at the age of 63. Soon after she married Noel Hughes, a retired army captain, who was nearly 15 years her junior. The couple were married for 40 years until Noel died in 1979 at the age of 88.

On her 107th birthday in 1984, Hughes received a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. On her 108th birthday in 1985, she was invited for afternoon tea with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street and took the express train to London for the first time in her life. Although she was a supporter of the rival Labour Party, Hughes admitted to personally liking Thatcher, and described her as “A very nice woman.” Several years later, Thatcher later visited Hughes at her own home.

For her 109th birthday in 1986, Hughes flew on an airplane for the first time, flying on Concorde over the Bay of Biscay. In 1987, Hughes celebrated her 110th birthday by flying on Concorde to New York, USA. During her trip, she went sightseeing in a Rolls Royce, met Mayor Ed Koch, and was interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America.

At the age of 111, Hughes appeared in a BBC television program about longevity. She attributed her long life to healthy eating and adhering to the Ten Commandments.

Hughes lived in her own home until 1991 when she moved into a nursing home in Redcar, North Yorkshire after her eyesight began to deteriorate and she became increasingly frail. At the time of her 113th birthday, she stated “although my mind is very bright, I’m now confined to a wheelchair.” At the age of 114, she spoke of her desire to vote for Labour in the November 1991 Langbaurgh by-election.

On 1 August 1992, she celebrated her 115th birthday, then becoming only the third fully-verified person in history to reach this age. For the occasion, she received a special message of congratulations from the Queen Mother (1900-2002), who herself would turn 92 the same week. Despite her declining health, Hughes nonetheless kept a positive outlook, where she expressed an interest in living to be “at least 120”.

Charlotte Hughes died in her sleep on 17 March 1993, at the age of 115 years, 228 days. Even over 30 years after he death, she remains the oldest British person ever recorded.

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Recognition

Hughes was widely reported in the media throughout her centenarian and supercentenarian years.