Margaret Partridge: Blue plaque for 'remarkable' female engineer

Margaret Partridge Image copyright Woman Engineer / Women's Engineering Society
Image caption Margaret Partridge (right), with fellow past president of the Women's Engineering Society Laura Willson (left) and secretary Caroline Haslett

A "remarkable" woman who was one of the first to run her own engineering businesses is to be officially commemorated with a blue plaque.

Margaret Partridge, who died in 1967, was an "early pioneer of using electricity".

Her business installed power in rural homes in Devon, bringing "excitement" to many families, according to the Women's Engineering Society.

Devon History Society will unveil the plaque at her former home in Willand.

A spokesman for the history society said: "Miss Partridge was a remarkable woman who, at a time when the usual career for female graduates was teaching, set up and ran a successful electrical engineering business of her own."

Image copyright Devon History Society
Image caption The plaque will be unveiled on Wednesday at Margaret Partridge's former home

Miss Partridge was born in Nymet Rowland, Devon, in 1891. She moved to Bedford and learned practical engineering from 1917 while working in munitions.

When World War One ended she returned to Devon and set up her electric power supply company, M Partridge and Co Domestic Engineers.

Elizabeth Donnelly, chief executive officer of the Women's Engineering Society, said: "She was an early pioneer of using electricity and it is difficult to overstate Partridge's importance to the field of electrical engineering, and to women."

She added: "Initially many rural people were suspicious of the new technology and the woman installing it but when the lights came on there was great excitement and many more were keen to be connected.

"Not only did she bring electricity to communities in Devon, her determination to bring electricity into the home lightened the domestic load of many women and enabled them to go out to work."

Miss Partridge went on to become women's technical officer for the south west of England for the Ministry of Labour during the Second World War, and also acted as a director of two nursing homes.

Image copyright Woman Engineer / Women's Engineering Society
Image caption Miss Partridge was buried in the churchyard at Willand in 1967

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