Photograph by Julia Hedgecoe


Born on 13 May 1940, the day the Germans crossed the Meuse into France.

Educated at Eton College and read geography at Trinity College, Oxford. Awarded an honours degree.

  • 1961-1963. Worked for Jocelyn Stevens on the travel magazine Go! as an editorial assistant, and later as a photographer.
  • 1963-1966 with John Hedgecoe, the photographer, started Abacus, a shop which revolutionised the merchandise being sold to people for their homes. The second Abacus opened in 1964 on the same day as the first Habitat. Abacus was sold in 1966.
  • 1968 Started a division at Cornmarket Press that reprinted out of print books for the worldwide university library market.
  • 1970 Joined Johnson Reprint Corporation, the largest US reprint publisher, as an editor.
  • 1973 Started the Chadwyck-Healey publishing group.

The Chadwyck-Healey group published research material in the humanities and social sciences on microfilm, CD-ROM and on the internet, bought by university, public and national libraries throughout the world. The group of companies which included Chadwyck-Healey Ltd, Cambridge; Chadwyck-Healey Inc., Alexandria, Virginia; and Chadwyck-Healey Espana SL, Madrid was sold to Bell & Howell Information and Learning (now Proquest), in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1999. Proquest continues to use ‘Chadwyck-Healey’ as a brand name and their operation outside the US is still based in Cambridge, UK.

In 1989 Charles Chadwyck-Healey founded Eriis (the Environmental Risk Information and Imaging Service) later renamed GeoSure, which was sold successfully in 1999, and was also one of the founding partners in MicroPatent in New Haven, Connecticut, which published patent information on CD-ROM and on the internet and was sold successfully in 1997.

He was a member of the Library and Information Commission 1995-2000; and the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission 1994-2000. 

He was the first chairman of openDemocracy Ltd 2001-2004; High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire 2004-2005; Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire 2004-; and chairman of the Wildlife Trust of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire 2009-2013. He is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.