I received Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald to review. The lost story of Britain’s, trailblazing, boundary-breaking women engineers starting in the 1800’s. Published in time to mark the centenary of the Women’s Engineering society, this really is a must read!
Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines
In 1919, in the wake of the First World War, a group of extraordinary women came together to create the Women s Engineering Society. They were trailblazers, pioneers and boundary breakers, but many of their stories have been lost to history. To mark the centenary of the society’s creation, Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines brings them back to life.
Their leaders were Katharine and Rachel Parsons, wife and daughter of the engineering genius Charles Parsons, and Caroline Haslett, a self-taught electrical engineer who campaigned to free women from domestic drudgery and became the most powerful professional woman of her age. Also featured are Eleanor Shelley-Rolls, sister of car magnate Charles Rolls; Viscountess Rhondda, a director of thirty-three companies who founded and edited the revolutionary Time and Tide magazine; and Laura Willson, a suffragette and labour rights activist from Halifax, who was twice imprisoned for her political activities.
This is not just the story of the women themselves, but also the era in which they lived. Beginning at the moment when women in Britain were allowed to vote for the first time, and to stand for Parliament and when several professions were opened up to them Magnificent Women charts the changing attitudes towards women in society and in the workplace.
Henrietta is the author of William Armstrong: Magician of the North, which was shortlisted for the H, W. Fisher Best First Biography Prize and the Portico Prize for non-fiction. She was chief editor of Chronicle of Britain and Ireland and Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Britain’s Coast. Her other books include Coastal Living, La Vie est Belle, and a National Trust guide to Cragside, Northumberland.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines, it truly is an eye-opener! Henrietta Heald gives a fantastic account of the achievements from these magnificent women from the Women’s Engineering Society, alongside the social pressures they faced. The collection of photographs throughout the book really help you picture these women as you read about their extraordinary lives.