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Women of Steel

During the First and Second World Wars, many women of Sheffield were conscripted to work in the city’s steel factories, helping to keep the steel industry running, often doing dangerous and demanding work alongside domestic duties at home. Sadly their hard work and sacrifices gained little appreciation and they were discarded ‘like yesterday’s fish and chip wrappers’ when the men returned home from war. Their valiant efforts, were almost forgotten by society until many years later when the elderly Women of Steel finally brought their remarkable story to light. Their heroic contribution to the war effort has now been commemorated by a statue in Sheffield city centre, which salutes their hard work and sacrifices. Some of their remarkable stories can be found in the book Women of Steel written by Michelle Rawlins. 

This body of work expresses the grit, determination and the steadfast character of these extraordinary women of Sheffield. Using offcuts of rusted sheet steel and oil paint, I hope to shed light on their long-lost remarkable stories and valiant endeavours. Stories that were nearly lost, slowly rusting away like the metal they worked with.