Dorothée Aurélie Marianne Pullinger
|Died||28 January 1986 (aged 92)|
St Peter Port, Guernsey, UK
|Fields||Automobile engineer and businesswoman|
White Service Laundries Ltd
Dorothée Aurélie Marianne Pullinger, MBE (13 January 1894 – 28 January 1986) was a pioneering automobile engineer and businesswoman.
Born in Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie, Seine Inférieure, France, she was the eldest of the 11 children of engineer Thomas Charles Pullinger (1867–1945) and Aurélie Berenice, née Sitwell (1871–1956). She was educated at Loughborough High School after the family moved to the UK when she was eight. In 1910, she began work as a draftsperson at the Paisley works of Scottish automobile firm of Arrol-Johnston, the oldest and largest Scottish car manufacturer, where her father, a well-known car designer, was managing director.
World War I and munitions manufacturing
Pullinger remained at Arrol-Johnston until the start of World War I when it changed from producing cars to aeroplanes. She was appointed female supervisor of the large munitions facility operated by Vickers in Barrow-in-Furness, where women were employed in the manufacture of high explosive shells. Her fluency in both English and French enabled her to manage the workforce of around 7,000, some of whom were Belgian and French refugees. In 1916, her father created a new munitions facility at Arrol-Johnston near Kirkcudbright which included an engineering college for women and an apprenticeship program.
Galloway Motors and automobile manufacturing
After the war, she returned to Scotland where the munitions facility was converted back to the manufacture of automobiles and renamed Galloway Motors Ltd, where she was a director and manager. The company produced a car, the Galloway, for Arrol-Johnston that was designed for women. The company employed a largely female work force under Pullinger's direction and produced automobiles until 1923 when production was transferred to Arrol-Johnston's Heathhall works.
In January 1921 Dorothée Pullinger was elected as the first female Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, although she initially rejected their offer of Associate Membership. She was an enthusiastic race car driver and won the cup in the Scottish Six Day Car Trials in 1924. She acted as a sales representative for Arrol-Johnston until 1925–6.
Marriage and later life
In 1924, Pullinger married Edward Marshall Martin (1895–1951), a ship's purser on the P&O passenger liner SS Naldera. They had two children, Yvette (b. 1926) and Lewis (b. 1931). In the late 1920s, Pullinger and her husband established White Service Steam Laundry Ltd  in Croydon which expanded to 17 shops where American steam laundry equipment was installed. They sold the company in 1946. During World War II, she was the only woman appointed to the Industrial Panel of the Ministry of Production. As a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party, she served on a panel to address post-war problems, contributing to the 1944 report Looking Ahead: Work and the Future of British Industry. Dorothée Pullinger Martin moved to Guernsey in 1947, where she established Normandy Laundries in 1950. Later in life she still drove one of her own Galloways around the island, with apparent reckless disregard for the usual Highway Code, as related by a Guernsey writer George Torode, who actually knew her. The laundry company is still in existence. She died in Guernsey on 28 January 1986.
- One of the founding members of the Women's Engineering Society in 1919, a life-long member and active in the society's Council.
- MBE awarded in 1920 for her work as a manager during World War I at Vickers munitions production, overseeing 7000 women munitions workers.
An exhibition about Dorothée Pullinger, including a Galloway coupe car dating from 1924, opened at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow in June 2019, as part of the Centenary celebrations for the Women's Engineering Society. The opening was attended by her daughter Yvette Le Couvey.
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