Croft WI February meeting by Pat Hewitt WHEN members of Croft WI heard that the talk at their meeting was to be entitled ‘My Life in Wellingtons’ they presumed it would be about gardening.

However, they were surprised to learn that speaker Margaret Emsley would be relating to her working career as a civil engineer and the wellingtons in question had been worn visiting construction sites.

From an early age Margaret had been interested in the unseen mechanics of building works, unusual for a girl at that time, and when a civil engineer cousin explained the intricacies of his job, Margaret decided that was the career she wanted.

On leaving school career advisors tried to dissuade her from pursuing her dream, as they felt her qualifications would have been better suited to being a teacher and engineering was no profession for a woman.

This advice had the opposite effect and after gaining the necessary qualifications, Margaret went on to become a full time civil engineer.

Her job involved travelling all over the country working on roads, bridges, nuclear power stations, large buildings and even sewers.

There were occasions when she encountered male opposition to working for a female site boss, but these were rare.

Site operatives swearing, risqué calendars and the like were all taken in her stride and her experiences such as falling into water-logged foundations, male/female site toilet arrangements were hilarious.

After many years in her profession, Margaret decided to go into academia and after gaining even higher qualifications, including a doctorate, she is now a lecturer at Manchester University, but never regretted an exciting, dynamic and tremendously satisfying job.

President Doreen Clare thanked Margaret for an extremely enlightening and interesting talk.

The competition was won by Barbara Taylor, with Marion Lord second and Joan Johnson third.