Home History Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC
Because of copyright issues, it has not been possible to include photographs in the book. There are images of Hilda Matheson, Elise Sprott and Janet Quigley as part of a short article I wrote about ‘Women at the BBC’, available on the BBC webpage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/ research/culture/women. Also in a BBC Blog I wrote on 18 September
The BBC was notorious for its use of complex job titles which were then referred to by their initials and which were constantly changed.3 2 For instance the key role of Women’s Staff Administrator was originally known as Women’s Staff Supervisor and later as Women’s Establishment Officer. For consistency, I have used Women’s Staff Administrator throughout, abbreviating it to WSA.
Money and Earnings
In the interwar years, the average annual earnings for men were:33
Higher professional: ?582 (1924)/?634 (1936)
Lower professional: ?320 (1924)/?308 (1936)
Clerk: ?182 (1924)/?192 (1936)
Skilled manual worker: ?180 (1924)/?195 (1936)
In the interwar years, the average annual earnings for women were
Lower professional: ?214
Skilled manual worker: ?87
Money was in pounds (?), shillings (s) and pence (d). A pound was 20 shillings, each shilling had 12 pence. A guinea was 21 shillings.
For example, for waged staff at the BBC, annual increments were often in amounts of two shillings and six pence (written as 2s 6d or 2/6d), the equivalent, in decimal currency, of 12-and-a-half pence.
Penelope Fitzgerald had fun with titles in her novel Human Voices, set in the BBC during the Second World War. Penelope Fitzgerald (1980) Human Voices (London: William Collins).
Figures according to Guy Routh (1965) Occupation and Pay in Great Britain, 1906-1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 104. According to Routh earnings for 1924 and 1936 were very similar, with perhaps a slightly lower rate in 1936.
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