Stella Cunliffe

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Stella Vivian Cunliffe MBE (born 12 January 1917) was a British statistician.

She was educated at Parsons Mead, Ashtead and the London School of Economics where she gained a BSc (Econ).


She started her career in the Danish Bacon Company (1939–44) but at the end of WWII interrupted her career to do voluntary relief work in Europe with the Guide International service (1945–47).

In 1947 she resumed her career by accepting a post as statistician at the Dublin brewers Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (1947–70).

She then in 1970 became Head of Research Unit at the Home Office (1970–72) before being appointed Director of Statistics at the Home Office (1972–77), the first woman to reach this grade in the British Government Statistical Service. She was later Statistical Adviser to the Committee of Enquiry into the Engineering Profession 1978-80

She served as the first female President of the Royal Statistical Society from 1975 to 1977

Guide International Service

The Guide International Service was formed from specially trained ex-Girl Guide volunteers to help with the rehabilitation of Europe after the war, As a member of the service, Stella Cunliffe was amongst the first civilians to go into Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945 where they oversaw the “human laundry”: the delousing of the inmates.

She was appointed MBE in 1993.

Presidential Address to the RSS

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