Why is it that, all too often, one person’s achievements dominates a family? This is possibly the case of Rachel Parsons whose family was dominated by her father’s achievements. He was a great engineer in the North East of England and at his firm, Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, he pioneered the building of the ship The Turbinia. Arguably, Rachel’s achievement was great and should not be overlooked.
Rachel Parsons was born in 1885 and during her childhood was fascinated by science and her father’s engineering pursuits. She sailed with him on Turbinia on its early voyages and was determined to have a career in the exciting, heavy engineering industries of Tyneside. She was also one of that first wave of women to go to Cambridge University where she was one of only three to study mechanical sciences. Despite her academic achievement and experience she never received her degree from Cambridge because, at that time, women were barred from doing so.