Pauline Perry, Baroness Perry of Southwark

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The Baroness Perry of Southwark
Member of the House of Lords
In office
16 July 1991 – 26 May 2016
Personal details
Pauline Welch

(1931-10-15) 15 October 1931 (age 88)
Political partyConservative Party[1]
George Walter Perry
(m. 1952)
OccupationPolitician, University President
President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
In office
Preceded byDame Anne Warburton
Succeeded byDame Veronica Sutherland

Pauline Perry, Baroness Perry of Southwark (née Welch; born 15 October 1931) is an educator, educationist, academic, and activist. She is a Conservative politician and was a member of the British House of Lords. In 1981 she became Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England. In 1986 she became Vice-Chancellor of South Bank Polytechnic, and serving during its transition to a university, became the first woman in history to run a British university.[2]

Early life[edit]

Perry was educated at Wolverhampton Girls' High School and Girton College, Cambridge. In 1952 she married Oxford University lecturer George Perry, and had three sons and a daughter (Christopher, Timothy, Simon and Hilary). She became a teacher and philosophy lecturer, working in England, Canada and the USA.


In 1970, Perry joined HM Inspectorate at the Department of Education and Science, and was appointed Chief Inspector of Schools in 1981. In 1986 she became Vice-Chancellor of South Bank Polytechnic, and serving during its transition to a university became the first woman in history to run a British university. She subsequently held other roles in higher education, including pro-chancellor of the University of Surrey and President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.[3]

In 1986, she collaborated with John Cassels and James Prior to create the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) which would become National Centre for Universities and Business in 2013.[citation needed]

She has also been active in the Southwark Cathedral and Church of England community and the City of London. She was appointed chair of the review group examining the operation of the Crown Appointment Commission, the body which nominates Diocesan Bishops. The Perry Report "Working With The Spirit", was published in May 2001 and led to more transparent selection procedures for the appointment of Anglican Bishops.[4]

  • Freedom of the City of London in 1991.[citation needed]
  • Member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2003-05) and chaired the Working Party on the Ethics of research involving animals[5]
  • Chair, Commission on Secondary Reorganisation for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham,
  • Chair, Commission on Academies and Free Schools in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
  • Co-chair of The Conservatives Public Services Commission which reported in 2007.
  • Chair of the Governing Body of Kaplan College and Law School, in 2013.[6]

UK Parliament[edit]

On 16 July 1991, she became a life peer as The Right Honourable Baroness Perry of Southwark, of Charlbury in the County of Oxfordshire.[7] She sits on the Conservative Party benches. She was appointed a Conservative Party Whip in the Lords in January 2011.[citation needed] She retired from the Lords on 26 May 2016.[8]

Parliamentary Committees[edit]

  • Hybrid Instruments Committee (L) Lords 2014-
  • Sub-Committee I (Higher education in STEM subjects) Lords 2011-12
  • Sub-Committee I Lords 2010-11
  • Science and Technology Committee (L) Lords 2009-14
  • Liaison Committee (L) Lords 2007-12
  • EU Sub-Committee G - Social Policies and Consumer Protection Lords 2007-09
  • Sub-Committee I Lords 2005-07
  • Select Committee on Science and Technology Sub-Committee 2 Lords 2004-09
  • Science and Technology Committee (L) Lords 2003-07
  • Committee On Religious Offences Lords 2002-03
  • Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee) Lords 2002-
  • Human Rights (Joint Committee) Lords 2001-03
  • Relations between Central and Local Government, Committee on Lords 1995-96
  • Sub-Committee I Lords 1993-95
  • Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (L) Lords 1993-98
  • Science and Technology Committee (L) Lords 1992-95[9]



Coat of arms of Pauline Perry, Baroness Perry of Southwark
Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Perry of Southwark Lozenge.png
Sable, in dexter chief a sun in splendour issuant and in base a pear slipped and leaved Gold (Perry), on an inescutcheon of pretence Argent, a cross of lozenges, in the first quarter a crescent enclosing a quaver and in the fourth quarter a cinquefoil Gules (Welch).
Dexter, a marmalade tom cat proper; sinister, upon a pile of three books, the spines visible bound Gules, the pages edged Gold, a Persian cat Sable, the nose, breast and feet Argent, each supporting between the forepaws a quill argent penned or.
Ancilla Domini [11]


  1. ^ "Baronness Perry". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  2. ^ Profile,; accessed 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge website;; accessed 1 April 2016.
  4. ^ Profile,; accessed 1 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Ethics of research involving animals" Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 1 April 2016.
  6. ^ Profile,; accessed 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ "No. 52607". The London Gazette. 19 July 1991. p. 11059.
  8. ^ Baroness Perry of Southwark,, 27 May 2016
  9. ^ Biography,; accessed 1 April 2016.
  10. ^ "The Woman Engineer". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  11. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 2000.


Academic offices
Preceded by
Vice-Chancellor of South Bank Polytechnic / South Bank University
Succeeded by
Gerald Bernbaum
Preceded by
Dame Anne Warburton
President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Dame Veronica Sutherland