Astbury's correspondence regarding the post of 'lab boy'

Ten years after his collaboration with Florence Bell, Astbury placed an advertisement in the local paper for a 'lab boy':

Astbury's Advertisement for post of lab boy

In response to this advertisement, a 16 year old girl called Audrey Clough applied for the post:

Audrey Clough's application letter

Astbury's reply to this application is shown below:

Astbury's reply

Historians whose focus is on gender and science might well find Astbury's response of interest. For despite his comment that 'this job of ours is not one for a girl' he is still very keen to encourage Audrey to pursue her scientific interests. His suggestion that she apply to a laboratory grounded in more traditional biology such as Zoology or Botany could be interpreted as evidence of a perception that these particular scientific disciplines were somehow more suited to a girl than the physical sciences ( an issue which still remains highly relevant in schools today). Yet if this was the case, it certainly did not prevent Astbury from recognising and welcoming Florence Bell's skills as an X-ray crystallographer - as demonstrated by his keeness to retain her in his laboratory during World War II when the War Office summoned her for National Service

On loan from Special Collections, Astbury papers, folder B1

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