Over 70 years ago The Builder drew attention to that rare breed: a woman architect. Oh how times have changed …

The Builder March 1939 archive

Messieurs, Mesdames!

Stephanie Canham, at law firm Trowers and Hamlins, writing for www.building.co.uk this week, asks how we can make sure that women are encouraged to join the world of construction.

This week in 1939 this magazine, then called The Builder, seemed nonplussed as to how best to address women architects.

“In the realms of design and building organisation the woman architect has shown herself to be in no way inferior to her male counterpart,” the article declares. Indeed “she has on occasion shown herself to be his superior”. But what to call a mixed partnership? Miss Sweetly and Mr Blueprint, no. Messrs. Sweetly and Blueprint, “inaccurate and bordering on the ungallant”.

“Some settle the point by the curt ‘Architects: Sweetly and Blueprint’ but this merely avoids the issue and may even lead to confusion round about Christmas by which Miss Sweetly is awarded the cigars and Mr. Blueprint the stockings.”

The magazine solved the problem that particular week by drawing attention to a very pleasant house (illustrated right) by “Mesdames Gobb and Low”.

To read the full article from 31 March 1939, go to www.building.co.uk/archive

The Builder March 1939 archive