Dorothy Donaldson Buchanan

8 October 1899 – 13 June 1985

First Female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers

Dorothy Donaldson Buchanan, married name Fleming (born in Dunfriesshire) was the first female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, successfully passing the institution's admission examination in 1927.

Buchanan was born at Langholm, the youngest of five children born to Marion Vassie and the Reverend James Donaldson Buchanan. She was educated at Langholm Academy before earning a BS in civil engineering from Edinburgh University in 1922. At Edinburgh, she studied with Charles Glover Barkla, who had been awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1917.

Her first job was with consulting engineering firm Dorman Long where she served as part of the design staff for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. She later worked on the George V Bridge (now usually called the Tyne Bridge) in Newcastle and the Lambeth Bridge in London. She was also involved in the design of the Silent Valley Reservoir in Northern Ireland.

Upon marriage in 1930 to William H. Dalrymple Fleming, a civil engineer, she retired from engineering. As Dorothy Fleming, she pursued interests in rock climbing and painting. She died in 1985 in Somerset, at age 85.

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