Engineer of the Week No.10. Today we remember Ella Mary Collin BSc, PhD, FRIC (15 July 1903 - 1st February 1973), Past President of WES, who died 46 years ago on 1 February 1973.
Ella M. Collin was born in 1903 in Essex into a modest working class family. Her father, Walter George Collin, was a travelling salesman and later a printer. Collin became a metallurgical chemist having gained a BSc in chemistry from Kings College London and a PhD in metallurgical chemistry from the University of London: in electrolytic analysis for determination of impurities in ores.
She published a number of papers on metallurgy. She first worked in a firm of analytical and consulting chemists in London, specialising in the assaying of non-ferrous, rare and precious metals. In 1945 she became the assistant to the Director of Research and then the Education officer, at the British Launderers Research Association. In 1949 she was appointed to be an HM Inspector of schools (in the technical branch with the Ministry of Education, in Manchester, which she did until retiring. She joined the Women's Engineering Society in 1946 and immediately took an active role in setting up the London Branch, becoming its chair in 1948. She was the society’s president in 1952-53 and used the role to speak about technical education in schools. She was a regular donor to WES in her later years and left the society a legacy in her will when she died in 1973. Ella was also very active in the national and international federations of Business and Professional Women’s clubs and helped liaise when both WES and the federations were campaigning on the night working laws and equal pay issues.