Celebrating our Citizens of Change

Winifred Pennington

Citizen of Change: Leading a new wave of researchers

Winifred Pennington was part of a new generation of respected women in research. 

Born in 1915, Winifred was a botanist who joined Leicester in 1947 as a demonstrator and lecturer finally becoming an Honorary Professor in 1980. Her pioneering work in palaeolimnology showed the first evidence of late-glacial climatic oscillation in Britain.

Hers was a life of extraordinary achievement, she not only brought up four children but lectured on a variety of topics, carried out an active research program and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1979. 

Her FRS citation noted that “[her] work is remarkable for its palynological detail and field sampling programme, and for the clear correlations which emerged between vegetational history, climatic history and man's occupation of the area”.

In 1942 she married Thomas Gaskell Tutin, a botanist at the University of Leicester who was also destined to be elected FRS.

After retirement Winifred continued to pursue her academic interests, co-authoring important papers until 2003. She died on 1 May 2007 surrounded by her loving family. 

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