Deborah graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art after study at the London College of Furniture and Dartington College of Arts. She is the author of 8 books including: (Queen) Victoria (Carlton 2001); Ingenious Women (Sutton 2003); and The History of Toys (Sutton 2006). She is also co-editor, with Dr Stephen Wilson, of Memories of the Future (Peter Lang 2017).
A long standing interest of her’s is the relationship between industrial design and engineering, which became a focus when researching for Ingenious Women and The History of Toys. It’s also proved to be invaluable in Deborah’s current work as the editor of Newcomen Links.
She was a member of the V&A Trustees’ Committee of the Museum of Childhood; and served on the committee of the Centre for Cultural Memory at the IMLR, University of London. The variety of her work leads to lecturing to a diverse range of audiences on: women and innovation, Frank Hornby and Meccano, design in the Cold War and archives of memory included at: Newcastle University Business School; the Institute of Patent Agents; the Centre for Cultural Memory; the Wiener Library; the Newcomen Society and at the British Embassy in Berlin for the launch of Geniale Frauen (the German edition of Ingenious Women).
Valley Works, in the countryside west of Mold in North Wales, was developed in the late 1930s as a shadow factory for ICI's Randle Works in Runcorn, where mustard gas was made. The Valley was known by the local residents as a place that made nasty things - there were notices in Welsh and English about what to do in the event of a gas escape! In 1941, the MAUD committee reported that an atom bomb was theoretically possible and it was decided to start work on the formidable task of separating uranium isotopes. Again, the site chosen was Rhydymwyn Valley, which had the added advantage of being topographically difficult to bomb accurately.