The Girl Who Could Fix Anything


Beatrice Shilling was The Girl Who Could Fix Anything. It seems from an early age she demonstrated a penchant for tools and engineering. It led to an apprenticeship with the groundbreaking engineer, Miss Partridge, before a place at university.

However, this was the early twentieth century, when women did not merit equal opportunities in the workplace. Beatrice was desk bound before a job with the Royal Aircraft engine department arrived. Thereafter, as WWII arrived, Beatrice took on a role leading a small team of engineers who trouble shot problems with airforce planes. Yet the biggest problem, the way that fuel petered out quickly aboard a Hurricane or Spitfire, during a dive, remained unsolved.

Beatrice worked out that the problem was due to fuel flooding and devised a quick, easy attachment that could be applied to any aircraft.

Then again, Beatrice maintained her interest in motorcycle racing. Furthermore, her work continued with work on ‘supersonic engines, rocket fuel, – spyplanes- and bobsleds’. Then again, she was instrumental in clearing the name of the pilot involved in the 1968 Manchester United team crash.

While Beatrice Shilling is a name we need to know, The Girl Who Could Fix Anything is a book Bookwagon recommends you read. Its pace, engagement with the subject, positivity and witty, engaging illustrations make this a really enjoyable, inspiring non-fiction picture book.

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The Girl Who Could Fix Anything

Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer

Written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Daniel Duncan

(Walker)– hardback

Beatrice Shilling was The Girl Who Could Fix Anything. It seems she ‘preferred tools to sweets‘. What’s more, ‘when she took a thing apart, she put it back together better than before’. Then again, Beatrice was inspired by a ground breaking engineer. It seems Miss Partridge employed her as an apprentice before recommending Beatrice to university.
However Beatrice was singled out because of her unique skill, tenacity and gender. It meant she ‘found she [wasn’t] quite like’ others. Therefore, there were few jobs for someone like her, until one arrived with the Royal Aircraft Establishment engine department.
It seems that despite constant obstacles, most culminating from traditional expectations of twentieth century women, Beatrice Shilling prevailed. It meant that by the time that Britain went to war in 1939, Beatrice was in charge of a small Royal Air Force engineering support team. Thereafter, Beatrice Shilling was responsible for solving one of the biggest problems for fighter pilots. It seems that she worked out how fuel pressure might be maintained consistently in Hurricanes and Spitfires.
Although Beatrice Shilling’s contribution to engineering is little known, this title rights that wrong with bravado. Mara Rockliff and Daniel Duncan offer a proud portrayal of this astounding trailblazer. We learn of her personality, drive, focus and enterprise. Furthermore the way the writer and illustrator present the story, through pacy, positive text and comic style illustrations, catches our attention and interest. Altogether, The Girl Who Could Fix Anything is a really interesting, vibrant and splendid biography. Bookwagon recommends this book to our readers. Then again, this is an ideal book to read alongside Skyward, or Cool Engineering.


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