Saturday, 5 October 2013

Women Drivers

Back to Penpont for the Day of the Region, narrowly escaping being mown down by a car on the way, to visit the newly revamped cottage belonging to Joseph Thompson the explorer, one of a bewildering generation or two of Dumfries and Galloway folk who, though they often came from humble backgrounds, went out to carve their names out in a variety of fields. They wouldn't have had problems with cars because there weren't any. Besides they were walkers who thought nothing of hiking to Edinburgh for dinner then back the next day.

Thornhill's far enough for me, 2 miles away. Unhappily drinkers must trudge there from Penpont now as its lovely old pub has been closed by its owners for the last two years. Or we can get the bus. My two favourite drivers are Robert Louis Stephenson- yes, really- and the other is a feisty girl called Annette who always delivers me to the door of the Farmers Arms, even though there isn't a bus stop there.  I must ask her if she knows about Dorothée Aurélie Marianne Pullinger.

 Dorothée Pullinger was a suffragette who after managing a munitions factory of 7,000 women in World War One established a engineering college and a car factory in Tongland near Kirkudbright completely run and staffed by women, making cars "built by ladies, for those of their own sex". The factory had a swimming pool, a music room, and its own hockey team. The college provided  "educated women, to whom a life of independence from relations is necessary, a new career of brilliant prospects." The company badge was the same colours as the Sufragette tricolour. 

The Tongland factory produced the 'Galloway' a lightweight vehicle designed especially for female drivers.

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