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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitlePapers of Dame Adelaide Anderson
Ref No7AMA
Box Fetch NoBox 01-14; PC 6.9; Box OS80
LevelCollection
Date1863-1936
Extent14 A boxes, OS items
Admin Biographical HistoryAdelaide Mary Anderson (1863-1936) was the daughter of Alexander Gavin Anderson, a bank manager, and Blanche Emily Campbell. She was born in Melbourne, Australia but her family returned to Europe when she was a child. She was educated by a governess at home and then at a school in Dresden, at Queen's College in Harley Street and Girton College, Cambridge where she passed the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1887 (she received the Gamble Prize in 1893). She was a lecturer for the Women's Co-operative Guild and was offering private tuition when, in 1892, she joined the staff of the Royal Commission on Labour and became a civil servant. She entered the Factory Department in 1894, being the fourth of HM Women Inspectors of Factories, who were first appointed under the Home Office by Asquith in 1893. For the following 27 years the work of the women inspectors was directed by Dame Adelaide Anderson, who was appointed HM Principal Lady Inspector of Factories in 1897. Her work encompassed many aspects of the employment of women and young persons, including industrial health and safety, the dangerous trades, working hours and conditions and welfare. In 1920 the Home Office Factories Department was reorganised: the men's and women's sides of the Inspectorate was amalgamated into a single department, and the post of Principal Lady Inspector was abolished and a woman Deputy Chief Inspector created. With the establishment of an entirely new department, it was decided that this new post should be entrusted to new hands. Adelaide Anderson was told to retire. Constance Smith was appointed Deputy Chief Inspector.

Following this early retirement from the Home Office, Adelaide continued her interest in working conditions for women and children, becoming particularly interested in conditions in China. In Jun 1923 Adelaide Anderson, whilst on tour of British Dominions studying industrial conditions, received a cable in Melbourne, to come urgently and assist with the work of the Industrial Commission of the National Christian Council of China. She cut short her visit to Australia and New Zealand and arrived in China on 23 Nov 1923. After brief sessions in Hong Kong and Canton, she joined the Sessions of the Industrial Commission of the National Christian Council of the Child Labour Commission of Shanghai which had then been sitting five months. In the intervals of the meetings, she visited factories, addressed many meetings and gave lectures on factory law and administration at Peking University. In 1926 Adelaide Anderson was invited to sit on the Buxton Advisory Committee on the China Indemnity to the British Foreign Office with its delegated Willingdon Mission to China. She left for China for a third visit in 1931, when she was sent by the International Labour Office, Geneva, at the request of the Chinese government, to help them in the development of their Factory Inspectorate. (The Chinese Factory Act was promulgated on 30 Dec 1929 and put into operation on 1 Aug 1931 with slight modifications). She was also a member of the Universities China Committee in London, 1932-1937.

Adelaide Anderson also visited South Africa (1922), Australia and New Zealand (1923), and Egypt (1929-1930) inquiring into labour conditions. She wrote and lectured widely and her publications included 'Women in the Factory: An Administrative Adventure, 1893-1921' (1922) and 'Humanity and Labour in China: An Industrial Visit and its Sequel, 1923-1926' (1928).
DescriptionThe archive consists of personalia; lecture notes and essays written at Cambridge; appointment diaries and address books; papers relating to appointment and retirement as Factory Inspector; lectures delivered by Adelaide Anderson on factory inspection and related topics; papers on publication of 'Women in the Factory' and 'Humanity and Labour in China'; papers relating to three visits to China (1923-1931) including her work with the International Labour Office of the League of Nations; papers covering visits to Australia and New Zealand (1923), South Africa (1922), Egypt (1929-1930); papers concerning Adelaide Anderson's other interests; photographs; publications; press cuttings.
Related MaterialFor additional photographs of Anderson please see The Women's Library Museum Collection, including: TWL.2004.552; TWL.2009.02.022; TWL.2009.02.024 and TWL.2009.02.162

The TUC Library Collections holds the papers of Gertrude Tuckwell which contains correspondence with Adelaide Anderson. The Women's Library Printed Collections has a microfilm copy of this collection.
The National Archives holds the Records of the Home Office which contain material relating to the factory inspectorate
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThis collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library @ LSE in advance of their first visit.
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