Engineer of the Week No. 75: Kathleen Mary Cook (Mrs D.I.H. Goodwin) AMIMechE, FIBF MIProdEng (25th August 1910 - 1971)
On her 109th birthday we remember Kathleen Cook mechanical engineer, entrepreneur and WES President.
Kathleen Cook was born in London in 1910 and educated at La Convent of the Sainte Union des Sacres Coeurs, North London, followed by a 7 year apprenticeship in 1928 at Hercules Engineering Company, in North London. As far as we can tell she had no formal post-school technical education. Her father, initially a machine shop foreman in the automobile industry, became a director of this small general engineering and press tool company. During the Second World War she and her three brothers ran a factory in Northolt, making gun breech mechanisms. In her spare time she liked to volunteer as a mechanic at Brooklands race track. In 1942 she was appointed director of Hercules Aircraft Construction Co Ltd and in 1945 was a founder member of Universal Equipment Co Ltd. In 1949 she set up Kainder Ltd, to make her own invention, the Kainder Mobile Bed. In 1951 she joined Wilman Engineering Co Ltd, a small manufacturer of making electronic equipment and automatic control units, which was struggling financially and helped rescue it. She remarked that the very hard times in engineering she experienced during the depression when she was just starting her career, stood her in good stead when she took on and turned around various struggling firms in her later career. She married Dennis Goodwin, at this period, who was a director of Brentford Foundries, and George Spicer Ltd. She was a fellow of the Institute of Production Engineering and of the Institution of British Foundrymen (their first female fellow). She died in 1971 after a long illness.
Kathleen joined the Women’s Engineering Society in 1931 and was immediately energetically involved, joining the council in 1936, vice president in 1951 and president in 1955-6. She died in 1971 after a long illness.