Exhibition celebrates work of Crawley's pioneering engineer Dame Caroline Haslett

UK Power Networks employees Mel Oakley and Jill Brooks ask their questions about Dame Caroline to John Cooban from Three Bridges Forum
UK Power Networks employees Mel Oakley and Jill Brooks ask their questions about Dame Caroline to John Cooban from Three Bridges Forum

An exhibition is celebrating the pioneering work of electrical engineer Dame Caroline Haslett.

Three Bridges Forum is running the two-week exhibition following the Women in Engineering awareness day last Sunday (June 23) for UK Power Networks’ staff at Energy House in Hazelwick Avenue, Crawley to learn about the work of Crawley’s famous dame.

A feminist and suffragette, Dame Caroline Haslett was a female pioneer in electrical engineering at a time when few homes had electric light, heating or appliances. She promoted electrical power to emancipate women from the drudgery of household chores, so they could pursue ambitions outside the home.

A blue plaque is dedicated to her on UK Power Networks’ Stephenson Way substation and last year Three Bridges Forum illuminated the company’s pylon in her honour on Haslett Avenue East, which is named after her family.

Leisha Krandoo, infrastructure planning engineer at UK Power Networks in Crawley, said: “I am just beginning to appreciate the work of Dame Caroline and her contribution to motivating women into employment and electrical engineering, at a time when women were mainly focused on housework.

“The exhibition is a great event to celebrate the life and work of a local legend and motivate all women to push themselves further in their careers. Her work paved the way for young women to pursue careers and her example is still relevant because engineering remains an area where women are still under-represented today.

“All of us can achieve whatever we really wish to if we commit to it with total dedication. Fewer women go into engineering and STEM subjects because of gender stereotypes, lack of information available on engineering roles and a general perception that STEM subjects are harder, which can put girls off choosing this career option.

“UK Power Networks is actively recruiting women apprentices and engineering graduates so women are well represented across the industry. The company promotes diversity and has STEM ambassadors who promote engineering careers to young girls and women to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

John Cooban, for Three Bridges Forum, said: “We are most grateful to UK Power Networks for joining us in our Caroline Haslett Memorial Project, seeking to draw attention to a pylon in a really positive light. A permanent prominent memorial as part of a Pylon Pocket Park will be an amazing way to send Caroline’s message to inspire future generations of women as equal to men, into careers in STEM subjects - engineering in particular.”

Every year Women in Engineering Day recognises the contribution women have made to engineering, encourages women to consider a career in engineering and promotes gender diversity and equality in the workplace.

For details of how to support the CHaMP Pylon Pocket Park fundraising please email threebridgesforum123@gmail.com