Women and war

During the centenary year of the start of the First World War, IWM North is exploring how the conflict changed British society with an outdoor exhibition of images of women working in industry during the war.

Female worker in Charles Macintosh and Sons’ Ltd rubber factory, Manchester, 1918
Female worker in Charles Macintosh and Sons’ Ltd rubber factory, Manchester, 1918

The Manchester museum is displaying six images by First World War photographer GP Lewis in 5m frames on the city’s Quays.

Lewis photographed the home front and specialised in images of heavy industry. His images of women working in the glass, vehicle and food industries show how women’s role in society changed during the war.

Women workers stacking oil cakes at an Oil and Cake factory, Lancashire, 1918
Women workers stacking oil cakes at an Oil and Cake factory, Lancashire, 1918

Commissioned jointly by IWM (which was founded in 1917) and the Ministry of Information, the images are taken from the IWM archives.

IWM is planning further exhibitions and events throughout 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war.

Female glass worker carrying a tube of rolled glass at Pilkington Glass Ltd., St Helen’s, 1918. The company still exists today
Female glass worker carrying a tube of rolled glass at Pilkington Glass Ltd., St Helen’s, 1918. The company still exists today

The Women in Industry exhibition is on show for free at The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17, until 28 September.

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