After studying history at Cambridge University, 1949-1952, Mary tried teaching, one of the few occupations offering equal pay to men and women in the 1950s. Temperamentally unsuited to it, she moved to a charity which paid very substantially less and then to an industrial company which eventually raised her back to the teaching level. In 1960 she met and married Brian Tiffen, who in 1962 joined the British Council. She followed her mother’s example as the supportive wife on his overseas tours in Africa, Iraq and Europe, but, unlike her mother, could also accept paid employment in each place. When her husband took the early retirement on offer in 1984, this experience and the Ph.D. meanwhile taken led to an appointment as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London. For further details see www.drylandsresearch.org.uk. After retirement in 2002 she investigated her own family history, leading to a book, Friends of Sir Robert Hart, Three Generations of Carrall Women in China, 2012, which has been translated for publication in China in 2016.
Where to find Mary Tiffen online
Testimony to Love
by Mary Tiffen
This book is fascinating on many levels. It is a glimpse, through her own words, into the life of a woman, Gwen, born in the nineteenth century into a life of privilege. Gwen's words show a woman deeply in love with a husband who was controlling, selfish and often heartless to his wife and children. It is a vivid glimpse into a long-vanished world which holds the reader in thrall.
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