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Eily Marguerite Leifchild Keary

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Eily Marguerite Leifchild Keary (married name Smith-Keary) (1892–1975), naval architect and aeronautical design engineer.

1892 born in Upper Tooting, London, daughter of Peter Keary (1865–1915) and his wife, Jessie Mina, née Richards (1865–1956), a tailor’s daughter. Her father, a self-made Liverpool-Irish newspaper proprietor, was the high-flying managing director of C. Arthur Pearson Ltd, someone whose writing style became a national byword.

Educated at Roedean

1912 Entered Newnham College, Cambridge; she was recorded as "planning to take the engineering course with her sister, Elsie, and Rachel Parsons".

1915 Gained a second class in the mechanical sciences tripos, the first woman to take honours in that tripos. As women were not yet admitted to Cambridge degrees, she could not graduate.

Worked at Elliott Brothers on Admiralty work.

1916 Moved to the new William Froude Laboratory at the National Physical Laboratory. Her research areas included the hydrodynamic properties of ships' hulls and the new seaplanes and flying boats. When a super-fast destroyer was built, Sir Alfred Yarrow announced to the Institution of Naval Architects that "the lines of that ship were determined partly by a lady, Miss Keary, and I think that is a very fine recommendation in favour of ladies".

1917 she became the first female associate fellow of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain.

1919 of Newnham College, Cambridge. Junior Assistant, William Froude National Tank.

1919 Elected an Associate of Institution of Naval Architects

1921 she became one of the first female associates of the Institution of Naval Architects together with Rachel Parsons and Blanche Thornycroft.

1930 married Frederick Edmund Smith-Keary, formerly Smith (1897–1974), who earlier in that year had changed his name by deed poll to Smith-Keary. Frederick was a seagoing senior marine engineer for the firm of Furness Withy. They had met on a ship.

She resigned from the Froude Tank after marriage and had a son, born in 1931.

1970s She was finally made a full member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects

1975 Died in Liverpool.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Eily Marguerite Leifchild Keary, ODNB