Blanche Thornycroft

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Blanche Thornycroft
Blanche Coules Thornycroft died 1950.jpg
Born21 December 1873
Died30 December 1950
NationalityUnited Kingdom
OccupationMarine engineer
EmployerJohn I. Thornycroft & Company
Parent(s)Sir John Isaac Thornycroft
Blanche Coules

Blanche Coules Thornycroft (21 December 1873 – 30 December 1950) was a British naval architect. She was not formally recognised in her lifetime but her role as an "assistant" is now better credited.


Thornycroft was born in 1873 in Hammersmith into the Thornycroft family. Her elder brother was John Edward Thornycroft and uncle was the sculptor Sir Hamo Thornycroft.[1] She was the granddaughter of Thomas Thornycroft and Mary Thornycroft.

Her father, John Isaac Thornycroft, was knighted in 1902.[2] Although she did not keep regular hours at her fathers business it is acknowledged that she made an unsung contribution to the business. She was trained in the same way as an apprentice would be trained and she was known as her father's assistant. Analysis however of correspondence with her brother and father reveal that she was regarded as a maths expert and her work was well regarded.[3]

She was one of the first three women to be admitted to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects on 9 April 1919 alongside engineers Rachel Parsons and Eily Keary[4] and was a member of the Women's Engineering Society for twenty years.[2]

Thornycroft died in Bembridge in 1950.[2]


  1. ^ "Sir John Edward Thornycroft". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Harcourt, Keith (2019-08-08), "Thornycroft, Blanche Coules (1873–1950), naval architect", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.110232, ISBN 9780198614128, retrieved 2019-08-11
  3. ^ Edwards, Roy; Harcourt, Keith (2018). "Blanche Thornycroft". Science Museum Group Journal. 10 (10). doi:10.15180/1851009. ISSN 2054-5770.
  4. ^ "The Woman Engineer". Retrieved 2019-08-11.