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A Most Un-Ladylike Occupation

by Lisa Wright - £9.99  Book Guild Publishing Ltd (2018)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9781912362929 | ISBN 10: 1912362929

Lucy Deane was from an upper class military family and was appointed in 1893, aged 28, by Herbert Asquith; then the Home Secretary, and she was sent across the British Isles, to the dismay of male factory inspectors, to inspect and report on the conditions of women workers. She and her four colleagues had no precedents and no training. Lucy’s up-market family were horrified – “a most unladylike occupation.”
Eliza Orme, the first female lawyer, advised her to keep private records of “everything and everyone – in small cheap exercise books with indelible pencils. And write as soon as you leave the workshop or the meeting, in the cab or on the train.” She continued as a factory inspector until 1911 when she married her old friend Granville Streatfeild. But she was constantly called upon to consult and advise on women’s’ social issues, writing the first reports on the dangerous trades, and the first reports about asbestos. In the First World War, she was in charge of organising the Women’s Land Army, and gained an MBE for her efforts.

(Price & availability last checked: August 2018)

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In booklists: Women's Biography and Autobiography, Women and Work,
In categories: Feminism & Women, History & Biography, Work & Workers Rights,

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