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Archives Biographies: Dame Caroline Haslett

Caroline Haslett was born at Worth, Sussex in 1895. During the First World War, she joined the Cochran Boiler Company where she acquired a basic engineering training and from that time became something of a pioneer for women in the electrical and professional world.

In 1919 she became the first secretary of the Women's Engineering Society (WES) and was President in 1941. In 1924 she became the first director of the Electrical Association for Women of which she was a joint-founder. She became Chair of the Council of Scientific Management in the Home and presented papers on home management in various countries. 

From 1946-1954 Dame Caroline was the only woman member of the Council of the British Institute of Management and in 1953-1954 Chairman of the British Electrical Development Association, the first time a woman had been appointed to that office. She was also the only woman member of the British Electricity Authority 1947-1956 - a popular appointment in view of the importance of domestic electrical development.

In recognition of her services, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931 and in 1947 was promoted to Dame Commander. She was elected an IEE Companion in 1932 and from 1950 she was JP for the County of London.

Dame Caroline's activities aroused great interest among a number of women's organisations, town planning authorities and other bodies and she was active in many such organisations. She became President of the British Federation of Business and Professional Women and President of the International Federation in 1950. 

She travelled widely in connection with her offices: to Europe, the Middle East, Canada and the United States. During the Second World War, she undertook several missions at the request of the British and United States Governments and was appointed Chair of the Hosiery Working Party and Honorary Adviser on Women's Training to the Ministry of Labour.

Portrait of Dame Caroline Haslett ref IET Archives NAEST 33 26 32

The above audio file comprises 30 seconds of Caroline speaking about the EAW in the 1940s and is followed by a 12-minute discussion about Caroline between Doreen Butt, EAW Liaison Organiser West, and Anne McMullen (3rd Director of the EAW). This digital audio was produced following the digitisation of a tape in the IET Archives, NAEST 93/12/3.

Other resources of interest: