Stella Cunliffe

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Stella Vivian Cunliffe MBE (12 January 1917 – 20 January 2012)[1][2] was a British statistician. She was the first female president of the Royal Statistical Society.[3]

She was educated at Parsons Mead, Ashtead and the London School of Economics where she gained a BSc (Econ).


She started her career in the Danish Bacon Company (1939–44) but at the end of WWII interrupted her career to do voluntary relief work in Europe with the Guide International service (1945–47).

In 1947 she resumed her career by accepting a post as statistician at the Dublin brewers Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (1947–70).

She then in 1970 became Head of Research Unit at the Home Office (1970–72) before being appointed Director of Statistics at the Home Office (1972–77), the first woman to reach this grade in the British Government Statistical Service. She was later Statistical Adviser to the Committee of Enquiry into the Engineering Profession 1978-80

She served as the first female President of the Royal Statistical Society from 1975 to 1977.[4]

Guide International Service[edit]

The Guide International Service was formed from specially trained ex-Girl Guide volunteers to help with the rehabilitation of Europe after the war, As a member of the service, Stella Cunliffe was amongst the first civilians to go into Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945 [5] where they oversaw the "human laundry": the delousing of the inmates.

She was appointed MBE in 1993.

Presidential Address to the RSS[edit]

Her recreations were work with youth organisations, gardening and prison after-care.


  1. ^ "Stella Vivian CUNLIFFE Obituary: View Stella CUNLIFFE's Obituary by The Times". The Times. The Times. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. Stella Vivian died peacefully on 20th January 2012 aged 95. 
  2. ^ "Stella Cunliffe dies aged 95". This Is Surrey Today. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "First woman RSS president, Stella Cunliffe, dies - RSSeNEWS". Royal Statistical Society. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. It is with sadness that we report that Stella Cunliffe, who was our first woman president, has died at the age of 95. 
  4. ^ "Royal Statistical Society - Presidents". Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Davies, Serena (14 August 2009). "100 years of the Girl Guides". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  • Julian Champkin. A Life in Statistics: Beer and Statistics (An interview with Stella Cunliffe) Significance 2006; 3(3):126–9. doi:10.1111/j.1740-9713.2006.00184.x
  • David Salsburg The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century, Owl Books (NY), 2002. Chapter 25 has an account of Cunliffe's career based on her presidential address.

External links[edit]