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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleHalpin, Miss
Ref No8SUF/B/138
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 29
Date16 Mar 1977
Extent138a- 34:58 mins 138b - 66:26 mins
DescriptionInterview took place at 5 Chagford House, Chagford St, London NW1.
Interview in 2 parts: 8SUF/B/138a and 8SUF/B/138b.

Interview summary:

0:00 mins:
Kathleen Halpin's work for the London Society for Women's Services (LSWS) and her retirement from it. The way the Executive Committee operated and its relation to the Junior Council - the eventual merger of the two. Various aspects of the Council including fundraising, dramatics, debating. Philippa Strachey's position as secretary of the LSWS and key role as a strategist. Philippa Stachey's excellent drafting skills, her slowness and lack of flamboyance, her ability to listen well, her role as a confidante, her sense of humour. Mary Stock's friendship with Philippa Strachey and the memoir she wrote. Ray (Rachel) Strachey's flamboyance and oratory skills. Ray Strachey's running of the office and role in liaising between the Junior Council and the Executive Committee. Kathleen Halpin's joining the Junior Council in 1929. Lady Astor's parties. The Fawcett Society's work to get the young involved.

15:00 mins:
The professional class and the LSWS. Annual reports. Enid-Russell Smith, a civil servant. Kathleen Halpin as secretary of the Junior Council and what this involved. Pippa Strachey as honorary secretary and her parliamentary work. The merger of the Junior Council and Executive Council. The LSWS house and offices - later the Abbey Community Centre, Marsham Street. University Women's Clubs. The meetings of the Junior Council and their collaboration with the Executive Committee. Mention of the Soroptimist movement. The issue of equal pay and Enid Russell-Smith's change of mind about this. Eleanor Rathbone and equal pay.

30:00 mins:
The non-militancy of the LSWS. Their emphasis on discussion and opening up opportunities for women, including campaigning for more women councillors and members of parliament. Pippa Strachey's role in giving advice to the juniors. The minutes of their meetings as a reflection of their work and approach. Letter from Oswald Mosley, and Pippa Strachey's response to it. Florence Halsborough.

0:00 mins:
A comparison of the suffragettes and suffragists. Women and men: working together and separately. Her anti-slavery work with John Allsebrook Simon (Lord Simon) and Kathleen Simon (Lady Simon). Lady Reading's founding of the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) and her relation to feminism. Kathleen Halpin's work in public relations for the British Gas Council Association (BGCA). Her rivalry with Caroline Haslett. Her introduction and relation to the WVS.

15.00 mins:
The WVS as democratic, or not, its hierarchy and structure. Philippa Strachey's role on the advisory council. Its connections with the Fawcett Society. Women's organisations and the nature of their relation to the WVS. The WVS former exclusivity to women - male members accepted later. Men joining what used to be all women organisations.

30:00 mins:
What the WVS did for women in Britain, the rest centre and other types of work. The peacetime position of the service, and frustrations in 1946. The 1948 Acts of Parliament and the Welfare state. The Linen League and hospital work. The WVS central in giving women new work opportunities. Comparing women in the Junior Council and the WVS. The voluntary aspect of the WVS. The Red Cross. Lady Reading's personality and manner.

45:00 mins:
Lady Reading's (Stella Isaacs) background, strong personality, philosophical nature. The lack of a book about her. Relation of Social Services to the WVS. Local centres after the Second World War. Women's Institutes and Townswomen's Guilds and their relation to the WVS. Family support and these organisations. Liaison on evacuation between the Women's Institute and the Wvs. The Junior Council's influence on Kathleen Halpin's future life. Her education, interest in mathematics and year's vacation in France. Her secretarial training. Her decision not to go to university. Her work on Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

60:00 mins:
The Junior Council's ability to broaden one's mind. How mathematics helped her. Caroline Haslett (one of first women engineers), her personality, ambition and opportunism. The electrical industry. Caroline Haslett's work for professional and business women. Pippa Strachey's continuing work into her older age, her sense of humour.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 50
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