Engineer of the Week No. 73: Mrs May Maple (nee Newby) (8th Aug 1914- 19th August 2012) FIEE, CEng., FRSCA
On the seventh anniversary of her death, we remember electrical power engineer and WES president, May Maple.
Mrs May Maple’s life before she joined the Women’s Engineering Society in 1950 is unclear, but she is likely to have been born in 1914 in Gateshead to Mr & Mrs Albert Newby, and to have married Wiliam Maple in 1939. She started her engineering career as a purchasing officer with the London Transport Board and then moved to Edmundson’s Electricity Corporation. She gained an HNC in Electrical engineering doing a 5-year nightschool course from Action Technical College, whilst at Edmundson’s. In 1948 when the electricity supply industry was nationalised she continued her work in the Contracts department of the British Electricity Authority, gradually being promoted until she was a2nd Assistant engineer in Contracts Department (1953). In 1955 she gained her associateship of the IEE, rising through its membership grades as MIEE and Chartered Engineer (1966), to become an FIEE in 1969. By 1965 she was a Contracts Officer with the CEGB, responsible for all electrical equipment contracts and only woman in this position.
She was active in the Women’s Engineering Society from not long after she joined, initially on the committee of the London branch,getting involved in education outreach to schools and taking on the onerous task of finding paid advertising for The Woman Engineer for over 10 years. In 1970-71 she was the Society’s president and also actively supporting the International Conferences of Women Engineers and Scientists. This involved travelling widely which she continued into her later years. She was made an Honorary Member of WES in 1979 and awarded the society’s highest award, the Isabel Hardwich brooch, in 1991. She died in 2012 and left a legacy to the society in her will.