Mayor unveils plaque celebrating Waterlooville pioneer Beatrice Shilling OBE

Wednesday, 6 March, 2019

Local inventor, engineer and racing driver, Beatrice Shilling OBE, will be commemorated with a special plaque at Waterlooville Library.

The Mayor of Havant, Councillor Peter Wade, will unveil the plaque at 10am on Friday 8 March – which is both International Women’s Day and the day which would have marked Ms Shilling’s 110th birthday.

Beatrice, born and raised in Waterlooville, was a leading engineer for the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), inventor and amateur racing driver who was awarded an OBE for her work and broke new ground for women in engineering.

During the Second World War, she invented the ‘Shilling Penny’ which was pivotal to ensuring the Spitfire had a steady supply of fuel while in combat. Her innovation was first trialled during the Battle of Britain and saved the lives of countless RAF pilots over the course of WWII.

Following the unveiling, Waterlooville Library will be hosting a variety of displays, photos and books all about the remarkable Ms Shilling and local community group U3A will be giving a talk about her life and achievements.

The Mayor of Havant said: “Beatrice Shilling OBE was a pioneering woman who was pivotal in the war effort and inspirational for many. I am honoured to be unveiling this plaque celebrating her achievements."

Councillor Leah Turner, Cabinet Lead for Communities, Development and Housing, said: “Havant Borough Council is delighted to recognise the achievements of it's residents. Beatrice Shilling OBE was a lady who made a large impact in the world and her invention is remembered by many locally. I would like to thank Waterlooville Library for helping to organise the event.”

Ms Shilling’s name is also being used for a new care home development, Shilling Place, at 38-44 London Road, Waterlooville.

International Women’s Day is an annual worldwide event which highlights the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions made by women.