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British Industrial History

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Margaret Mary Partridge

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Margaret Mary Partridge (1891–1967), electrical engineer

1891 born at Nymet Rowland, Devon, daughter of John Leonard James Partridge (1859–1922), of independent means and his wife, Eleanor Parkhouse, née Joyce (1858–1926).

The family later moved to Bedford where Margaret and her siblings were educated.

Attended Bedford College, London

1914 graduated with a London University BSc (mathematical honours)

1915 Having tried teaching, she followed a recommendation by Margaret Tuke for a post with consulting engineer A. H. Barker.

1917 Moved to work for Lyons and Wrench, to work in munitions. Wartime conditions enabled her to gain a range of experience as an engineer and a supervisor.

1919 she moved to Devon, where she set up as an independent consulting engineer, M. Partridge and Co., Domestic Engineers, advertised as electrical specialists, focused on providing lighting and electric power for farm and country houses in the area.

1920 Joined the Women's Engineering Society.

1922 She put on an exhibition of electric models and machines in Exeter, including a range of labour-saving devices aimed at women in the home.

1924 After the Electrical Association for Women was founded she became an active supporter of it.

1925 Her first rural electrification scheme was in Bampton.

Partridge employed several engineers and apprentices, including women.

1926 she took on another woman apprentice, Beatrice Shilling, who threw herself into all aspects of engineering work and was later encouraged by Partridge and her partner, Dorothy Rowbotham, to study engineering at university.

WWII Partridge founded and was the director of Exeter Munitions Ltd. She was also appointed the Women’s Technical Officer for the South West, advising factories on the employment of women.

1943 Became president of WES.

1946 On retirement, she took an active interest in local activities in Willand, where she lived with her former business partner Rowbotham. Under her supervision the wiring of the new village hall was completed by members of the Women’s Institute.

1967 Died at home in Willand.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Margaret Partridge, ODNB