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October 24, 2014

66 Vintage Photographs Documenting British Women at Work During World War I

During World War I, large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. New jobs were also created as part of the war effort, for example in munitions factories.

The high demand for weapons resulted in the munitions factories becoming the largest single employer of women during 1918. Though there was initial resistance to hiring women for what was seen as ‘men’s work’, the introduction of conscription in 1916 made the need for women workers urgent. Around this time, the government began coordinating the employment of women through campaigns and recruitment drives.

Here's a collection from UBC Library Digital Collections consists of vintage photographs of British women at work during World War I.

General view of brass fittings shop

Women inspecting motor engine parts

Women loading nitrate of soda into a skip

Women straightening and bending steel girder

Women painting steel work

Women operating radial drilling machines, drilling holes in girders

Women copper banding t60 pdr shrapnel

Women taping planes

Women in charge of electric motor

View of canteen at munitions factory

Women wheeling away earth excavated for the installation of hydraulic pumps

Woman driving O.E.T. crane

Women operating radial drills, drilling valve covers and strainer plates for weed boxes for marine engines

Women stacking wood

Women painting War Office vehicles

Women cleaning windows

Woman acting as helper at punching and shearing machine

Women transporting rough castings to the General Store

Women engaged in labouring work in dressing shop

Woman are with cores for ingot mould

Woman at battery drills, drilling angles and T bars for ribs of airship sheds

Woman operating vertical drilling machines, drilling angles for connections to ribs of airship sheds

Women operating circular saw, cutting steel bar

Woman operating a Sunderland gear planer, gear cutting

Woman driving 20 ton O.E.T. crane

Women inserting and packing tubes in condensors for marine engines

Women machining Admiralty electrical fittings

General view of women engaged on small parts for boilers and condensors

Workers preparing for the construction of concrete ships

Railway workers cleaning carriages

Railway workers unloading goods from train

Women railway workers painting and decorating

Mine net workers wiring the floats together

W.R.N.S. fitting a mine

Women testing a mine with air presssure

W.R.N.S. instructor at respirator and mask drill for military recruits

Railway worker pulling signal box levers

Window cleaners

Girl operating stitching machine in Leicestershire boot factory

British women moulding and finishing stoneware taps at terra cotta works in Leicestershire

British woman winding cotton from spools on to rollers at lace factory in Nottingham

British women working in lace factory in Nottingham

British women working in tannery in Nottingham

British women in Nottingham tannery drawing skins from the lime pit

British women cleaning locomotive in Midlands

British women in glass factory cutting shop near Birmingham

British women in glass factory near Birmingham

British women painting planes at aeroplane factory near Birmingham

British woman splicing airplane joints in aeroplane factory near Birmingham

British women aeroplane workers near Birmingham welding frame tugs for planes

British women working in chemical laboratory near Manchester

Chemical works near Manchester - British women chemical workers in the Midlands

British women chemical workers in the Midlands taking limestone from stock, loading and wheeling barrows of lime to wagons

British rubber workers in Lancashire spreading machine for coaling canvas for tire making

British women rubber workers in Lancashire fixing studded tires

British women asbestos workers in factory in Lancashire

British women oil workers in Lancashire moulding cakes

British women rubber workers in Lancashire making mouth-pieces for gas masks

British women rubber workers in Lancashire forming the foundation for the tread

British women millers in Lancashire packing flour

British women millers in Lancashire filling sacks with Government Flour

British women Glass Workers

British Women Glass Workers in a factory in Lancashire - Plaster house workers

With the British Navy in wartime - Working a machine to extract the metal from the rubbish

The Royal tour in the North Eastern Countries - The King chatting to some of the munitions girls


(via UBC Library Digitization Centre)


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