Warwickshire at War 1914-1918: Women's Roles and Employment

Rolling leather by machinery.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR1520

By February 1915, more and more Women were taking up the roles left by men, who had taken up their call of duty to fight for their country. In the Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard newspapers, the roles and employment of women featured heavily.

In the Warwick and Country Edition, page 7, columns 1-2, published on 12th February 1915, a meeting which was held at St Paul’s Church Rooms on 5th February 1915, was reported on. “St Paul’s Mothers Union”. The meeting had been addressed by the Hon. Mrs Gell on the subject of “Responsibilities of womenhood in time of War”. She explained the causes of the war “in such simple language that not a woman present could have failed to understand”. She referred to “the nobility of the mother who gave their sons for a great a noble cause ….. could not be over-rated” and “urged the necessity for the women of England to do more than they had done towards sacrificing their men folk”.

Women not allowed to use Public Houses

On 15th February 1915, there was a Ruri-Decanal Conference held in Leamington. This was reported in the Warwick and Country Edition, page 4, column 2, published on 19th February 1915. Entitled “Resolutions on War Questions”, the discussion mentioned that women should not be allowed to use Public Houses early in the morning or after 7pm nor where soldiers were billeted on the premises.

The need for women in employment is shown in an advertisement in the Warwick and Country Edition, page 1, column 1, published on 26th February 1915. “Situations Vacant. Women wanted for factory work”. The advertisement was from Aerated Waters Co. Ltd., Chapel Street, Leamington. Women in employment was re-iterated in the Warwick and Country Edition, page 7, column 3, published on 19th March 1915, with a long report of an address on 12th March 1915 by Dr Lillias Hamilton, Warden of Studley College, Alcester, given under auspices of Suffrage Societies. The article was entitled “Educated Women as Forewomen in Factories”.

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Royal Leamington Spa Courier and Warwickshire Standard, 12th, 19th & 26th February & 19th March 1915, courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office.

Originally published on the Warwickshire at War 1914-1918 Blog.

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