Elisabeth Lesley Grant Pugh was born on December 30th in 1935 in south London, only child of a dentist and a schoolteacher.  She went to St Helen’s School in Norwood, where she was made head girl. Then after school and after the war she studied sociology at LSE, gaining first class honours.
Her early work was as a child care officer, and in various social work and research posts in Manchester, then Somerset, where in 1968 she met and married Harry Mapstone, a fellow social worker from Taunton. Harry was offered a post as the first director of social work for Fife, so they moved north in 1969, but the very next year he died suddenly from an asthma attack.

Elisabeth was shattered. She moved back south and, to keep her mind occupied, took a master’s degree at Brunel University. In 1975 she was appointed professor political science and social policy at the University of Dundee, the University’s first woman professor. She stayed for almost twenty years. (Margaret Fairlie, who features in our Trail, was first woman professor in Scotland but of University College, which was just part of St Andrews at that time not a university in its own right.)

Elisabeth was a pioneer of social work as both researcher and activist, being particularly involved with children and child abuse (when this was not much talked about) in Scotland and beyond. Her work was recognised with the OBE in 1986. She co-authored with Andrew Kendrick and Murray Simpson, an influential report Getting it Together: Services for Children and Young People in Difficulty (1996) which explored the implications for social work in Scotland of changes in the past few years. While welcoming local plans, the report stressed that central government must play its part in providing resources and integrated policies, and there must be included the views of the children and parents themselves. Along with a departmental colleague, Andrew Kendrick, she wrote The Functions of Child Care Reviews in Scotland: a Preliminary Investigation (1989), part of a research project on how statutory child care reviews worked. She was also called in as key adviser to Sheriff Brian Kearney when in 1996 he led a UK government enquiry into child care services in Fife.

 As well as all this she was a patron of the Sutherland Trust which promotes the study of human relations in education, health and social care, and did a lot of work with the Carolina House Trust in Dundee, an ex-orphanage which helps children, both in care and out.

Much liked and respected by her colleagues she was missed when, as Professor Emeritus, she retired in 1994, but she continued to support and advise teachers and students from her home in Wormit until ill health restricted this. 

2004, and the voluntary organisation Dundee Age Concern was foundering. A friend coaxed Elisabeth into taking over the chair, where she did a great job. One Trustee remembers feeling very nervous at meeting such an eminent woman who wanted to look at the constitution first thing – but it was OK, they had a nice coffee and chat together. Elisabeth was a cheery and popular figure at both centres, where she knew staff and most visitors by name. She managed the organisation’s move to bigger and better premises in 2001 (DAC received Group of the Year Award that year) and stayed on for another three years. 

But she was 85, not very able by now and was planning to move into a nursing home when she died in the Little Cairnie Hospital in Arbroath on November 28th 2013. Her ashes were taken back to be beside her husband’s in Somerset.

An Englishwoman, and one of great importance to Scotland and to Dundee.