Rachel Parsons

Rachel Parsons
Death date


Rachel Mary Parsons was born in 1885 and was an engineer who fought for women's employment rights, and was the founding President of the Women's Engineering Society, which was formed in 1919.

Parsons attended Newcastle High and Rodean until 1903, then entered Newnham College at the University of Cambridge in 1910, one of the first three women to study Mechanical Sciences there. When the British entered World War I, she replaced her brother as director on the board of their father's Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company and oversaw the recruitment and training of women to replace the men who had left for the war. She then became a leading member of the National Council of Women and campaigned for equal access for all technical schools and colleges.

After her brother's death, her father wouldn't let her continue working at the company, so she became a member of The Royal Institution of Great Britain and helped found the Women's Engineering Society, with her mother, Lady Katharine Parsons, Eleanor Shelley-Rolls, Margaret, Lady Moir, Laura Annie Willson, Margaret Rowbotham and Janetta Mary Ornsby. She was the organization's first president, until 1921.

In 1920 she founded the engineering company Atalanta Ltd with a group of 8 women, which produced surface plates and machine models until 1928.

In 1922 she set up her home in London and hosted social events for the elite of London society. She was elected to the London County Council for Finsbury in 1922 and was on the Electricity and Highways Committee. She stood for Parliament in the 1923 election but wasn't elected. She then moved to a larger property in 1926 and continued political efforts.

In 1940 she moved to the countryside with 25 acres of land while maintaining a London residence. She then bought the 2600 acre Branches Park estate where she built a large stud farm. In 1954 she purchased a racing stable and began horse racing. In 1956, she was attacked and killed by former stableman Dennis James Pratt.

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