Collet, Clara Elizabeth (1860–1948)
After a period as a schoolteacher in Leicester, Clara Collet became one of Charles Booth’s assistants on his Survey of London Life and Labour in 1886. In 1893 she entered the civil service as labour correspondent and later senior investigator for women’s industries in the newly established Labour Department of the Board of Trade. The earnings and employment of women became and remained Clara Collet’s main concern; her contemporaries recognized her as the principal authority on the subject in Britain. Articles on female labour and earnings were among her contributions to the first edition of Palgrave’s Dictionary of Political Economy in 1894, and the thorough and lucid reports which she produced on women’s industrial employment figured in Parliamentary Papers, contributing to the passing of the original Trade Boards Act of 1906. After her retirement in 1920 from what had by then become the Ministry of Labour, Collet herself served on a number of trade boards, and wrote the section on Domestic Service for the New Survey of London Life and Labour directed by her former chief, Sir H. Llewellyn Smith.