Miss Theresa J.Dillon and Miss Carmen Dillon



“Tess Dillon (1896-1984), physicist and teacher, was one of the three high-achieving younger daughters of Theresa and Joseph Dillon. In 1934 she became the Head of the Physics Dept., King’s College of Household and Social Science, later the Queen Elizabeth College, Kensington…

Tess was born on 30th July 1896 in Hendon, the third child of Theresa Joseph Dillon née McHale and Joseph Thomas Dillon. She was educated at Our Lady of Zion Convent, 36 Chepstow Villas, Kensington and obtained her B Sc. from the University of London in 1918. In 1920/21 she travelled to the US with her parents and in London became a physics teacher at King’s College of Household and Social Science in Kensington.

In 1979 Tess visited the school and “Miss Dillon’s Memoires” were recorded for the school magazine…

In 1934 Tess became the Head of the Physics Dept., King’s College of Household and Social Science, later the Queen Elizabeth College, Kensington. A university lecturer, she visited Portugal in September 1933, September 1934, and September 1936, her address then 3 Oakwood Court, London W14 – perhaps a regular holiday trip?. In the 1939 census she is listed as a university lecturer, (and serving with the LCC Ambulance Service), single, living in family home in Kensington, sister Una a bookseller, BSc., (the founder of the bookshop) and sister Carmen, a film art director.

…In the 1950s the school was renamed Queen Elizabeth College, Kensington, and the college started offering the full B.Sc. course offered by the University of London. Tess remained at the College until retirement in 1963(?)…

Tess was a member of the University Women’s Club. Angela V. John, biographer of Lady Rhondda, notes that Tess helped Theodora Bosanquet a great deal after Lady Rhondda’s death and we may note that Theodora assigned her probate to her in 1961. Tess herself died on 17th May 1984, when living at the family home 16 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington.”

From obituary for Carmen Dillon, art director, born October 25 1908; died April 12 2000 (The Guardian of 21.4.2000.):

“…Carmen Dillon was born in Cricklewood, north-west London, the youngest of six children. One of her sisters, Una, founded the Dillon’s bookshops. She had a strict Catholic upbringing, but her parents – her father was a businessman, her mother a teacher – encouraged her in her desire to become an architect.

Her interest in the cinema was aroused when she met several art directors, including Vincent Korda and Alfred Junge, while studying in London at the Architectural Association. She liked, what she called, “the arty side” of films. She began in the industry working on “rotten little old films, but very exciting and great fun to do – with as little as £100 spent on sets.” She remembered that she was requested not to wear slacks on the set, and once overheard someone say, “That bloody Carmen Dillon is keeping a man out of a job.”…

…”Above all, I wanted to create an illusion of reality,” she once remarked…”

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