Today’s first woman is Shirley Cameron Jennings who was the first British woman to become a gas fitter.
As she was the daughter of a gas engineer it’s not entirely surprising that Shirley followed in her father’s footsteps. She commenced studies at Westminster Polytechnic in 1935 and four years later became the first woman to pass the Higher Grade examination of the Institute of Gas Engineers.
She worked as a gas fitter for two years before joining the Metropolitan police as a constable.
After WW2 Shirley joined the CID and was appointed as a Detective Sergeant in 1952.
A couple of years later she was sent to investigate a theft from a company in Mayfair and met the company accountant, Mr Becke.
The couple were married in 1954 and Shirley went on to become the first woman police commander of the Metropolitan Police – Shirley Becke!
The image at the top of this post has nothing to do with Shirley the gas fitter. It’s from the Imperial War Museum and shows women stripping and cleaning street lamps and preparing them for re-glazing in a gas works at an undisclosed location during the First World War. Not exactly relevant but within the theme!
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