Women Work and War
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 Women Work and War

 Until 24 September 2017 at Leeds Industrial Museum

An exhibition honouring the vital role women played in the First World War

The First World War brought many changes to the working lives of British Women.  As men headed abroad to fight in the war over one million women joined the workforce between 1914 and 1918. They took on the jobs left by men including bus drivers, train cleaners, police officers and fire fighters.  Large numbers of new roles were also created as part of the war effort, for example in munitions factories.

Women, Work & War highlights the variety of these roles women had in Leeds across the economy in the First World War. It shares the stories of women working in the city’s munitions manufacturing which began in Armley and expanded to the Barnbow site in East Leeds. Although better paid they risked their health and lives for dangerous work.

Listen to people today describe the Barnbow munitions workers, share the smells of the Barnbow factory, learn about the lives lost in the 1916 factory explosion and be inspired by these women to create Leeds' greatest ‘Shero’.

This exhibition is supported by East Leeds History and Archaeology Society.
Linked educational resources:

• A new educational resource linked to this exhibition is available from My Learning 

• The WW1 Schoolroom at Leeds Industrial Museum is also available for educational visits.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Click to expandCommemorative poppies

On the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, groups, schools and individuals from all over Leeds contributed hand-made poppies to remember the Leeds Pals and soldiers from every war.

Download our free poppy-making pack!
It's really easy to make a poppy. Download our PDF with instructions.

The Leeds Pals and the Battle of the Somme

On 1 July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. On that same day, over 57,000 British soldiers were wounded or died. From Leeds, 248 men from the Pals, the 15th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, died during or as a result of the fighting.

George Sanders, from the Leeds Rifles, the 8th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his brave actions.

Visit our First World War Medals interactive on the My Learning website to discover stories of people from Leeds who fought in the First World War.

Download poppy-making instructions (PDF)