Mary Almond: vacation work among the boys at Jodrell Bank Observatory, 1947

Mary Almond tells story of joining team of undergraduate volunteers at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory in 1947.

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At the end of our first year he asked the class if any of the boys would be interested in spending some time sort of digging trenches and mixing concrete and the other tasks that they needed at Jodrell. After the lecture I went to see him and said, ‘Would there be anything for girls to do at Jodrell?’ And he said, yes, he was sure he could find us something. So my friend and I spent two weeks working at Jodrell Bank, living in Miss Verity’s caravan, as I said, and we sandpapered rust off an old army searchlight that they were going to attach an aerial to. 

And the boys were there? 

Mm, digging, mixing concrete and digging trenches [laughs]. 

Any other girls aside from you and your friend there, sandpapering?

No, no. No other girls at Jodrell Bank? No. There were another couple in the first year physics, I think, two or three, but, no, they didn’t do things like that [laughs].

  • Interviewee Mary Almond
  • Duration 00:01:09
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 1/12/2011
  • Shelfmark C1379/38

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