Mary Thompson Irvine

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Mary Thompson Irvine
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Born(1919-08-19)August 19, 1919
Partick, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Died2001(2001-00-00) (aged 81–82)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
  • Bradford Technical College
  • Strathclyde University
Known forFirst woman to become a chartered member of the Institution of Structural Engineers

Mary Thompson Irvine, married name Lindsay (1919 - 2001) was the first woman to become a chartered member of the Institution of Structural Engineers and is therefore a pioneer for women in engineering in the UK.


Mary successfully passed the institution's admission examination in 1947 at a time in the UK, when most women did not have access to the education opportunities which facilitated a professional career.[1] Mary began training as an architect but switched to structural engineering after being inspired by a visit to a steelworks.[2] She studied evening courses at Bradford Technical College and then the Royal Technical College in Glasgow (now Strathclyde University).[3][4] Irvine's long career led her to work in the UK, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, from the 1930s to 1985, with a specialism in structural steelwork for commercial and industrial buildings.[2] A particularly notable project was her work on the Castle Peak B Power Station in Hong Kong (1982) where she wrote analysis software to analyse pressures on the steel boiler houses.[2] During her career she worked for the London Country Council Taylow Woodrow and Bradshaw Buckton & Tonge of Leeds, establishing a Dundee office for the latter in 1979. [2][3]


  1. "Institution of Structural Engineers". Retrieved 1 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Visit to Steelworks Changed Mary's Life". Dundee Courier and Advertiser. 14 May 1982.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Engagement of Woman Structural Engineer". Yorkshire Evening Post. 30 November 1953.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Strathclyde University Archives reference: OE/11/3/1/46: Royal Technical College Register of Students, session 1946-1947

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