Jackie Ingram lived in comfort at her marital home of 17 Elmgate Gardens, in the suburbs of Weatherfield. She didn't need to work as her husband Peter owned a successful textile factory in Rochdale Road. By 1990, the couple were thinking of moving to a bigger house and Jackie had set her sights on Thorngrove in Oakfield.
In August of that year, Peter's sales rep Mike Baldwin set up Phoenix Fabrics as a rival to Ingram's, breaking a contract which stopped him from launching a business in Ingram's lines for five years. After getting wind of the fact that Mike was interviewing for a front man at his Weatherfield Quays flat, Peter sent Jackie there posing as a candidate to entrap Mike. Mike took the bait and interviewed "Jackie Williams", being immediately taken with the attractive woman. The deception was revealed to Mike when Peter invited him and Alma Sedgewick to a dinner part at the Ingrams' residence and introduced them to Jackie formally.
A week later, Peter died suddenly of a heart attack. Jackie allowed Ralph Dobson, Peter's sales manager and right-hand-man, to take charge of the factory until she decided what to do with it. Mike remained on the periphery, demoted to work's manager by Peter and kept there by Jackie. Seeing Peter's death as an opportunity, Mike set out to prove to Jackie that he should be the manager by securing a contract with Phil Jennings. Jackie began to warm to Mike when he invited her to a party at his flat, helping her to come out of her shell.
Jackie blamed the factory for causing Peter's death and in September she decided to sell up, buy Thorngrove with the proceeds and live off the interest. She was surprised when Mike supported her, at least until buyer Charlie Travers put in an insultingly low offer for the business. Dobson advised Jackie to keep the factory on the market but instead she took Mike's advice of running the factory herself until it was a seller's market. As Jackie didn't have any experience of running a business, Dobson refused to support her any longer and resigned, adding a warning to rid herself of poisonous Mike. Mike then manipulated Jackie into making him general manager by pretending that he'd been offered a job elsewhere.
The factory was run by Jackie and Mike together, in principle if not in practice; Jackie was reliant on Mike to advise her and make the important decisions. In November, to celebrate landing a big order Jackie entertained Mike to an intimate meal which ended with them going to bed. Jackie then offered Mike a relationship on the proviso that he dumped Alma. When Mike responded to the ultimatum by backing away, Jackie feared he'd plotted his way into her bed and prepared to pay him to leave the factory. However, afraid of losing Jackie Mike did as she demanded and finished with Alma.
In the New Year, Mike sold his flat and moved in with Jackie. Jackie was serious about Mike and decided to sell her house so that they could have a place that was truly theirs. This led to speculation on the factory floor that a wedding was in the offing. Amused by the gossip, Jackie got Mike to propose to her and accepted. Jackie's solicitor Gordon Barrett drew up a pre-marital contract for Mike to sign protecting Jackie's money and property should the couple divorce. Mike demonstrated his love for Jackie by signing the contract without reading it, making Jackie feel thoroughly guilty and leading her to go back to Gordon and tell him to draw up a new contract giving Mike 50% of the factory upon marrying her, which she changed to 25% on Barrett's advice. The conditions met with Mike's approval and he eagerly signed the contract.
Jackie gradually took a more active role in the business as it weathered a recession. In May, while going through the firm's accounts, she discovered an anomalous entity in the accounts labelled "Alcazar Holdings", which Mike explained away as a small holding company for tax purposes. The following month, Ingram's started redundancies and week before the wedding, Ingram's biggest customer Mellors went bust owing the firm money. Mike worked flat out to save the business making Jackie scared that, like Peter, he'd work himself to death. Ralph Dobson, now working for a larger textile company, had a private meeting with Jackie and offered to buy her out. Jackie thought it was the perfect solution and allowed Dobson access to the business's accounts so that he could make an offer.
Jackie and Mike were married on 5th July - Jackie's birthday - and held their reception at the Midland Hotel. As a wedding present to her husband, Jackie dropped the bombshell that they were selling the factory. They proceeded to spend their honeymoon arguing as Mike, a workaholic, was aghast at Jackie's idea of spending two years in the Caribbean. Jackie was persuaded to turn Dobson down.
Before taking his leave of Jackie, Dobson informed her that Alcazar Holdings was the lease-holder on Jim's Cafe and Alma's flat in Rosamund Street, leading to another row between Jackie and Mike. Mike explained that he'd bought the lease without Alma's knowledge to alleviate his guilt over the way he'd treated Alma. Jackie ultimately forgave him after visiting Alma whose vitriol towards Mike convinced her that there wasn't anything going on between them.
Jackie challenged Mike to prove that the factory was still a going concern. Mike came through by landing a two-year deal with Wrightsons. Before Jackie heard the news, she received a visit from Phil Jennings, Mike's best man, who asked her for a £500 loan. Phil was desperate for money and had already been turned down by Mike. When Jackie also said "no", as an act of revenge Phil told Jackie everything Mike had done to gain control of the factory, including putting Charlie Travers up as a fake buyer. This was the last straw for Jackie, who threw her rings back at Mike when he arrived home and became hysterical, telling him to get out of her house. Mike dismissed her show of anger - more worried about her messing up his deal than about her - and laughed off her attempt to threaten him with Peter's old hunting rifle. Jackie drove off in the car, leaving Mike with the gun, which he discovered actually was loaded.
Jackie immediately started divorce proceedings and sought out Gordon Barrett to protect her from Mike while Ralph Dobson finalised the sale of the factory. Mike refused to leave the house, even when Jackie threatened to tell the police about him misappropriating company funds. He finally left after accepting Jackie's settlement of £100,000 in exchange for his 25% of the business and a quick divorce.
For the next eight months, Jackie and Mike's only contact was through their solicitors. In the Spring of 1992, in order to speed up the divorce Mike cited Alma as a co-respondent. Jackie agreed as she had a new man in her life and wanted rid of Mike. A few weeks later, Mike saw Jackie seeking her agreement to have Alma's name removed from the divorce petition and again, Jackie co-operated. Finally, in June of that year, Alma visited Jackie to convince her that she never had an affair with Mike. Jackie was confused by the fact that Alma thought Jackie had named her in the divorce; Mike had let Alma believes that he had to pay Jackie off to keep her name from being dragged through the courts, as a scheme to get her to marry him. Jackie advised Alma to get away from Mike while she could. Alma chose not to heed Jackie's advice and became the third Mrs. Mike Baldwin four days later.
Jackie was an intelligent, mature woman and a capable businesswoman. During her marriage to Peter, she didn't have to work as Ingram's Textiles paid all the bills, but Jackie was a modern woman and wanted to play her part. In her first encounter with Mike Baldwin, Jackie hid her identity in order to learn about Mike's plans to set up a rival company to Ingram's, and report back to Peter. Jackie was confident in her deception, successfully fooling Mike.
After Peter died from a sudden heart attack, Jackie's priorities changed massively. She knew the textile business well enough to make a go of running the factory, but was inexperienced and relied heavily on Mike, allowing him to manipulate her more easily. Mike grew closer to Jackie by letting her think that she was in charge. In matters outside the day-to-day running of the factory, however, Jackie held her own against Mike; when they began a relationship she forced him to finish with Alma Sedgewick, refusing to share him, and in 1991 she arranged the sale of the factory to Ralph Dobson's company without consulting Mike, though this was borne out of concern for Mike's health as she blamed the factory for killing Peter. After finding out that their marriage was just a means for Mike to gain control of the factory, Jackie ended the marriage and never looked back.
Shirin Taylor enjoyed playing the scenes of Jackie threatening Mike with a shotgun: "The fun of it was that it was such a good script and such a good storyline. Jackie was a strong modern woman who had a momentary lapse and weakness after her husband died and then after she felt betrayed by Mike Baldwin she used all her strength to get herself back together again. She wasn't going to have him play around." ("The Coronation Street Story" (Daran Little, 1995)).
First and last lines
"I didn't name you in the divorce petition; he named you. You were never mentioned in the first draft, but he went to my solicitor and had your name put in. Then, a few weeks later, he came knocking at my door to ask me to get it taken off again. Whatever game he was playing had presumably changed tack. Or perhaps you'd agreed to marry him by then, was that it? I'm sorry, some people are just poison. It's rare to come across them and it's a shock. All you can do is get as far away as possible. I've done that, emotionally and physically. Not without cost, and that sort of person always extracts some cost. It's not too late for you. Be kind to yourself. Get out quick." (Final line, to Alma Sedgewick)
List of addresses
|17 Elmgate Gardens||Only known address|
|Owner||Ingram's Textiles||1990 to 1991|