Women of Steel

During the First and Second World War many women of Sheffield were conscripted to work in the steel factories. They helped to keep the city’s steel industry running, often doing dangerous and demanding work alongside their 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 came home from war.  They received little or no recognition and their efforts were forgotten by society until many years later when the elderly Women of Steel finally brought their remarkable story to light. Now the heroic women’s contribution to the war effort has been revealed and they have been immortalised by a statue in Sheffield city centre which commemorates their hard work and sacrifices. Some of their stories can be found in Women of Steel a book written by Michelle Rawlins, in which these unsung heroines share their remarkable experiences. 

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