Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Annie Gillespie Shaw

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Annie (Anne) Gillespie Shaw (married name Pirie) (1904–1982), production engineering consultant

1904 Born at Uddingston, near Glasgow, the daughter of David Perston Shaw (1875/6–1915), wholesale wine merchant, and his wife Helen Brown, née Graham (later an MP).

Studied at the University of Edinburgh, initially mathematics and natural philosophy but changed to industrial psychology, graduating with an MA and a diploma in social studies in 1927.

1927 Went to the USA on a scholarship to study for a postgraduate certificate in social economy at Bryn Mawr University, where Dr Lillian Gilbreth, the time and motion expert, was a lecturer.

1930 Returned to the UK, where she became a personnel officer for Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company in Manchester.

From 1930 to 1945 she was the firm's first, and chief, motion study investigator

1933 Became chief supervisor of the women workers. She proved to management that a recently-reviewed process could be made 150 per cent more efficient.

Organized motion study courses for the entire AEI group

1935 Joined the Women's Engineering Society and helped the Electrical Association for Women produce an experimental film demonstrating the application of motion study to food preparation in the home.

1935 Gained a private pilot’s licence.

1936 She was the first woman elected to be a member of the Institution of Production Engineers

1937 Married John Henderson Pirie (1906–1982) a research engineer. They had a son and two daughters.

1938 Elected the first president of the Motion Study Society of Great Britain,

WWII The government requested that Shaw's motion study courses for AEI be given to the rest of the munitions industry.

1942 Joined the Production Efficiency Board to advise on work methods in the aircraft industry.

1944 Her first significant publication, Theory and Application of Motion Study, was published for the government. It then appeared commercially in several editions (including French) up to the 1960s.

1945 Organized a national exhibition to demonstrate that motion study methods applied to all industries.

Post-WWII Shaw set up her own consultancy business, the Anne Shaw Organisation Ltd., of which she was chairman and managing director, from 1945 to 1974, with her husband and Bernard Ungerson as partners, and her son David Pirie joining the firm later.

1949-51 Served as president of the Institute of Personnel Management

1952 Her book, The Purpose & Practice of Motion Study, was published. New editions and reprints appeared until 1968.

1954 Awarded CBE.

1964-79 Director of Wescot Ltd .

1967 Chair of the Management Consultants Association.

1982 Died at Alderley Edge, Cheshire

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Annie Gillespie Shaw, ODNB