Anne Gillespie Shaw

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Anne Gillespie Shaw
Anne Gillespie Shaw.jpg
Born(1904-05-28)28 May 1904
Uddingston, Scotland
Died4 February 1982(1982-02-04) (aged 77)
OccupationEngineer, Industrial Psychologist

Annie "Anne" Gillespie Shaw CBE (28 May 1904 – 4 February 1982)[1] was a Scottish engineer and businesswoman. Shaw specialised in time and motion study. She began her own consulting company, the Anne Shaw Organisation Ltd., in 1945.

Life and career[edit]

Shaw was born in Uddingston, Scotland, on 28 May 1904 to David Perston Shaw and Helen Brown Shaw MBE who became MP for Bothwell in 1931.[1] She attended St Leonard's School in St Andrews and Laurel Bank School in Glasgow.[2] She went on to study at the University of Edinburgh before studying for her postgraduate certificate at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.[3]

Shaw met Dr Lillian Gilbreth at Bryn Mawr College and became Gilbreth's research assistant in the field of Motion Study.[4] Shaw then began working at Gilbreth, Inc. until 1930 when she returned to the UK.

She became a personnel officer at Metropolitan-Vickers before becoming chief supervisor of women workers in 1933 and was the company's chief motion-study investigator between 1930 and 1945. She was also a consultant to the Associated Electrical Industries group of which Metropolitan-Vickers was a part.

Shaw joined the Women's Engineering Society in 1935,[4] and during the thirteenth annual conference of the Women's Engineering Society, Shaw gave a presentation on her study of motion at the Science Museum in Kensington, London.[5] In late 1936, Shaw helped produce a film for the Electrical Association for Women which demonstrated the application of motion study concerning food preparation in the home.[2] On 31 May 1937, she was selected by the National Institute of Industrial Psychology to lecture on modern developments in the study of time and motion.[6]

On 26 November 1937, at the Metropolitan-Vickers Debating Society, Shaw served as an opponent of a motion "That the Introduction of Female Apprentices to these works is to be deplored". As a result of her opposing voice, alongside those of Gertrude Entwisle, Dorothy Smith, and the speech of Dorothy Garfitt, a recently accepted apprentice, the motion lost by a margin of 17 votes.[7]

Shaw married John H. Pirie in 1937 and they had three children. [8] To continue working at Metropolitan-Vickers as a married woman, and to ensure the continued employment of her colleague Margery Havelock after her wedding in 1937, Shaw persuaded the Company Board in 1938 to remove its marriage bar.[9]

Shaw was recruited by the Minister of Aircraft Production, Stafford Cripps, in 1942 and during World War II, she worked on the Production Efficiency Board as an adviser to the aircraft industry.[2]

In 1945, Shaw started the Anne Shaw Organisation Ltd. of which she was the chairman and managing director until 1975. Between 1964 and 1979, she was also the director of Wescot Ltd.[10]

Death and legacy[edit]

In the 1954 New Year Honours she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services in the field of personnel management.[11]

Shaw died on 4 February 1982 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, aged 77.[1]

In 2017, Shaw was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.[12]


She published “An Introduction to the Theory and Application of Motion Study"[13] in 1944, "The Full Application of Motion Study" in 1950,[14] and "The Purpose and Practice of Motion Study"[15] in 1952.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ancestry". Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  3. ^ Streat, Sir Raymond (1987). Lancashire and Whitehall: The Diary of Sir Raymond Streat. Manchester University Press. p. 315. ISBN 9780719023910.
  4. ^ a b "New Members". The Woman Engineer. 4 (3): 33. June 1935 – via IET.
  5. ^ "Thirteenth Annual Conference". The Woman Engineer. 4 (4): 49. September–October 1935 – via IET.
  6. ^ "What Other People Are Doing". The Woman Engineer. 4 (11): 171. June 1937 – via IET.
  7. ^ "News of Members". The Woman Engineer. 4 (13): 208. December 1937 – via IET.
  8. ^ "University of Glasgow - University events - Glasgow Science Festival - Schools & Community Engagement - Community - Previous projects - Monumental - Anne Gillespie Shaw". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Obituaries." The Woman Engineer. 13(4): 13. April 1983 - via Institution of Engineering and Technology.
  10. ^ "45: Anne Gillespie shaw". Magnificent Women. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. ^ "No. 40053". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1954. p. 12.
  12. ^ "Clyde Space engineer inducted into engineering hall of fame". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  13. ^ Shaw, Anne Gillespie (1944). An Introduction to the Theory and Application of Motion Study. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office.
  14. ^ Shaw, Anne G. (June 1950). "The Full Application of Motion Study". Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 162 (1): 239–249. doi:10.1243/pime_proc_1950_162_027_02. ISSN 0020-3483.
  15. ^ Shaw, Anne Gillespie (1952). The Purpose and Practice of Motion Study. Manchester and London: Harlequin Press.