'A Capable and Industrious Clerk'

Staff card for Catherine Williams, clerk at the Manchester office, 1916-1920.

Staff card for Catherine Williams, clerk at the Manchester office, 1916-1920.

At Scottish Widows, the first women clerks were taken on at the Manchester and Birmingham offices, in September 1914. They were among the earliest female wartime recruits in the Group.

Shown here is the staff card of Catherine Williams. She joined as a ‘clerk and typist’ at the Manchester office in April 1916, at the age of 22. Her salary was 30 shillings a week, or £78 a year. This was comparable to her junior male counterparts.

Scottish Widows were extremely choosy about the women they employed. Managers were requested to supply ‘full particulars’, including education, qualifications, parentage and social position. The company believed ‘Lady Clerks’ were likely ‘to become a permanent institution.’  Perhaps this is why they were keen to vet them so thoroughly.

All this biographical information has been captured on Catherine’s card. It also informs us that she was: ‘A typist of a very superior order and a capable and industrious clerk’.

Catherine remained at the Manchester office until March 1920. By this time her salary had increased to 45 shillings a week - £117 a year.

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