Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Gabrielle Margaret Ariana Borthwick

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Gabrielle Borthwick (30 June 1866–10 October 1952), was a pioneering motorist and mechanic. She was one of the early wealthy women motorists to set up a garage and a school for teaching men and women to drive cars. She was chairman of the executive committee for the Women’s Automobile and Sports Association which was associated with the Royal Automobile Club.

Born on 30 June 1866, eldest daughter to Alice Day and the 19th Lord Borthwick, Cunninghame Borthwick. As a young woman she had been presented at court but never went on to marry.

By 1914 Borthwick was involved with establishing Women's unions including Society of Women Motor Drivers, an idea which had come from the women's suffrage movement. During the First World War Borthwick provided training for men who needed to know how to drive and maintain cars as well as to women who could be drivers in various roles such as ambulance drivers in France and Serbia. Her garage was Gabrielle Borthwick's Ladies Automobile Workshops in Brick Street which was an RAC agent into the 1920s.

She died on the 10 October 1952 in Sussex.

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