‘Electrifying Heroine’ Dame Caroline Haslett

Black and white image of a woman.
Caroline Haslett at the Signing of Youngmans lease, September 1949.

Suffragette and women’s equality campaigner Caroline Haslett (1895-1957) was born and grew up in Three Bridges. She went on to champion the role of women in the world of mainstream employment – particularly engineering – by their emancipation from domestic drudgery through education, training and application of new technologies. A leading author and advocate for safe domestic wiring circuitry, she was invited to serve on the wartime government committee that culminated in the adoption of our endearingly safe and familiar British Standard 1363 fused three flat pin plug and shuttered safety socket system. She earned international acclaim and national honours, before returning to serve as a member of Crawley Development Corporation in the formative years of the New Town.

Blue plaque for Caroline Haslett
Blue plaque for Caroline Haslett up in Three Bridges, Crawley.

Three Bridges Forum marked 2018 – women’s suffrage centenary year – by initiating the Caroline Haslett Memorial Project (CHaMP) which gained popular support through a town-wide public consultation exercise, including exhibitions hosted at Crawley Museum, Crawley Library and in 2019 an Electric Art Festival and exhibition at the Hawth Theatre.

Front cover of Caroline Haslett biography The Doors of Opportunity by Rosalind Messenger
Front cover of Caroline Haslett biography The Doors of Opportunity by Rosalind Messenger

Pending fundraising for a memorial – temporarily stalled due to the Covid pandemic – the prominent electricity pylon close to her birthplace in Three Bridges is now dedicated to Caroline Haslett’s memory, as a holding position at least. In the context of memorialisation, especially on International Women’s Day, your attention is drawn to a current campaign on Invisible Women that is seeking greater gender equality in civic statues in the UK. The Campaign features a ‘waiting list’ of women nominated as worthy of civic memorialisation, and our local heroine Caroline Haslett is now included in this list, with 2 nominations at the time of writing. So, if you would like to see Caroline move up the list, you can register with the website, go to the waiting list page and add your nomination for Caroline Haslett!

Poster for Caroline Haslett designed by Three Bridges Forum.

Find out more about Caroline Haslett at:

Engineering timelines- Caroline Haslett

The Institution of Engineering and Technology library 

Magnificent Women: Caroline Haslett 

Crawley Observer- Dame Caroline Haslett: Suffragette, engineer and an inspiration to women 

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Christine Charlesworth

3 years ago

I am a sculptor living in Milford near Godalming. See website: christinecharlesworth.co.uk This last year and a half I have completed sculptures of three remarkable women: Greta Thunberg for Winchester Unversity. Dame Ethel Smyth for Woking and Emily Wilding Davison for Epsom. I would really love to be considered as a potential sculptor for your project as Caroline Haslett was certainly an inspiring woman and I feel very inspired to create this much-needed portrait figure.

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