Mary Fergusson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Mary (Molly) Isolen Fergusson (28 April 1914 in Stoke – 30 November 1997 in London) was a British civil engineer, the first female fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, elected in 1957.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Molly Fergusson was born at Stoke, Devonport, the daughter of Mildred Gladys Mercer and John N. Fraser Fergusson and was brought up in York, where her father made radiography equipment.[3] She was head girl at York College, graduated in civil engineering from the University of Edinburgh in 1936, and to complete her training was indentured for two years at Blyth and Blyth of Edinburgh, unpaid for the first year.[2] She remained with the firm and worked on bridges and other infrastructure projects in Scotland,[4] eventually becoming a senior partner in 1948, making her the first female senior partner in a UK civil engineering firm.[5] She retired from full-time work in 1978. Fergusson continued her engineering work as a consultant, using her fees to create and support a fund to help engineering students. She was active as a member of the Women's Engineering Society and other community organisations. She received an OBE in 1979[6] and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree at Heriot-Watt University in 1985, for her work in encouraging women to take up engineering careers.[1]


A portrait of Fergusson was unveiled in June 2015 in the William Arrol building at Heriot-Watt University.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Mary Fergusson". ICE. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Haines, Catharine M. C., International women in science: a biographical dictionary to 1950, p. 98
  3. ^ Nina Baker, "Fergusson, Mary Isolen (Molly), in Elizabeth Ewan, Sue Innes, and Sian Reynolds, eds., The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women (University of Edinburgh Press 2007): 117.
  4. ^ "First woman civil engineer remembered". NCE 22 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Nina Baker, "Two Hundred Years of Women Bridge Builders," presentation at the University of Strathclyde (2006)
  6. ^ "Birthday Honours 1979" (PDF). London Gazette Supplement 26 June 1979. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bridging the gender gap". Retrieved 26 June 2015.