Obituary The Hon. Lady Parsons

Heaton Works Journal, December 1933

It is with profound sorrow that we have to record the death of the Hon. Lady Parsons, widow of the late Hon. Sir Charles Algernon Parsons, O.M., K.C.B., F.R.S., who died at her home Ray Demesne, Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland, on Monday 16th October 1933.

By her death the North Country has lost a great woman worker in many spheres. Inevitably, the greatness of the late Sir Charles Parsons rather overshadowed the fact that his wife was a most accomplished woman, though those who knew the home life of our late Chief know how much he owed to the devotion of Lady Parsons from the day he married her just over fifty years ago. Since his lamented passing in February of 1931, Lady Parsons had never been quite the same, and her last illness was the culmination of failing health over the past year or so.

Lady Parsons was herself an engineer of ability and had the distinction of being an Honorary Fellow of the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. At the time of her appointment she was the first lady to be elected an honorary fellow or honorary member of any British engineering society. She was also a founder of the Women's Engineering Society.

Lady Parsons took an active and helpful interest in all industrial affairs. The wife of a great scientist and industrialist, and a women of distinguished attainments, she played an effectual part in promoting friendly relations between capital and labour. Devoted to the cause of industrial co-partnership she worked hard to bring it about with all the power at her command.
One of her public duties which she fulfilled most conscientiously and as regularly as possible was the office of a magistrate of Newcastle, her appointment to the Bench dating from 1921.

At Ray, full scope was found for her love of horticulture - she was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society - and under her guidance the gardens became a place of wondrous beauty in that delightful moorland country.
Lady Parsons was a much travelled lady, and it was whilst Sir Charles was on a cruise to the West Indies with her that he died. Last year she visited India.

Lady Parsons was a daughter of the later Mr William F. Bethell of Rise Park, Yorkshire. Sir Charles and Lady Parsons had done son and one daughter (Miss Rachael Parsons). Their son, Major Algernon George Parsons, Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on April 26th, 1918, during the Great War, and lies in the Lijssenthoek Cemetery, Belgium.

As might have been expected, Lady Parsons took a deep personal interest in all her husband's undertakings. This applied particularly to Heaton Works, where she was a frequent visitor, and she made herself thoroughly acquainted with all our activities. Further, although she had few leisure hours, owing to the heavy calls made upon her, she found time to take part in our Sports Meetings, which she always attended, and she has also presided at our Annual Concert and Distribution of Prizes to the Apprentices. ON this occasion her words of encouragement to the apprentices were well chosen, and her praise and appreciation could not fail to stimulate and encourage the successful candidates to strive to bring honour to the engineering profession in which she herself was so interested. Endowed with a mind trained to clear thinking, she hated fuss and insincerity, but she possessed a refined charm which could not fail to attract.

We shall all keep in grateful remembrance not only those activities which brought Lady Parsons a justly merited public recognition, but those traits of character which endeared her to all those with whom she came in contact.
Lady Parsons was buried at Kirkwhelpington Churchyard alongside her Husband on October 19th 1933.