Hurst, Margery (1914—)
Hurst, Margery (1914—)
British business woman who founded the Brook Street Bureau, an international temporary office employment agency. Born Margery Berney in Southsea, Hampshire, England, in 1914; attended Kilburn High School, London; attended Minerva College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; married an army major, in 1940 (divorced); married Eric Hurst (an attorney), in 1948; children: (first marriage) one daughter; (second marriage) four daughters.
Self-described as a domineering, unlikable child, Margery Hurst was born in Southsea, Hampshire, England, in 1914, and displayed an early tenacity that would serve her well in later life. After attending Minerva College and spending two years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she went to work as a typist in her father's building business, progressing quickly to office manager. In September 1940, she married a young army major, and when he was posted overseas, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Services as a welfare officer. After two years, she suffered a nervous breakdown and returned to civilian life. At age 31, three weeks after the birth of her daughter, she was deserted by her husband and resorted to taking in typing to keep food on the table. With a loan from her father, she subsequently opened an office on Brook Street in London and hired herself out for office work.
Soon faced with more requests than she could handle, Hurst hired a highly trained staff to help her, thus establishing the Brook Street Bureau. From this modest beginning, Brook Street rose to become the largest international secretarial agency in the world, renowned for its original advertising and the high-quality, temporary help it provided. Hurst went on to establish a college for administrative and secretarial studies. In 1962, she received the Pimms Cup for Anglo-American business friendship and, from 1967 to 1970, served on the British National Economic Commission. In 1970, she became one of the first women members of Lloyds Underwriters. Hurst retired as the managing director of Brook Street Bureau in 1976, although she and her second husband, lawyer Eric Hurst, remained co-chairs of the enterprise. Hurst was awarded the OBE in 1976.
Hurst, Margery. No Glass Slipper. NY: Crown, 1967.