Engineer of the Week No.7 Rachel Parsons
Happy 134th birthday to Rachel Mary Parsons AINA (1885-1956)
Rachel Mary Parsons was the daughter of Sir Charles and Lady Katherine Parsons. She was educated at a number of girls’ schools including Roedean and in 1910 went to Newnham College, Cambridge and was one of the first three women to study Mechanical Sciences, although she did not complete the full three years. This added the theoretical background to her early practical interest in engineering fostered by her family, her father of course being the famous inventor of the compound steam engine.
During the First World War she replaced her brother as a director on the board of their father's Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company and oversaw the recruitment and training of women war workers She and her mother were among the founders of the Women's Engineering Society in 1919 and she became its first president (1919–1921). She continued her engineering interests by founding the Atalanta engineering company with a group of women, and funded by her mother and other influential friends of the Society.
In 1922 she became an Associate of the Institute of Naval Architects and was elected a member of the London County Council, serving on the Highways Committee and the Electricity Supply Committee. In 1934 she was elected as a member of the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders.
In later life Parsons pursued an interest in race horse breeding.