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Shiny

How young were munitions workers

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Shiny

Morning all,

 

I have been looking through a box of old paperwork my father in law has given me and have come across a signature book which is full of good luck messages, drawings and poems written to a relative called Lena. It appears to be a keepsake for people that were working together and many pages are dated and range from 1914 to 1920.

 

One picture shows a chicken and mentions making shells, so rightly or wrongly I'm guessing she was in a munitions factory in Newcastle where she lived.

 

My problem is that Lena was born in 1901. Is it possible that a 13 to 17 year old could be working somewhere in a munitions factory? Obviously I'm guessing maybe an admin role, rather than a canary girl but has anyone come across children working in this area?

 

Thanks a lot, 

 

Michael 

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Radlad

The school leaving age was 12, so they would have been classed as workers, not children. Yes it was not just possible, It was common

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Shiny

Wow, I had no idea, thank you. So does that mean she could have been an actual canary girl?

 

Michael 

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Radlad

'Munitions' manufacture covered everything the forces needed , not just the explosive manufacture or filling  and all workers needed supporting . She could have well been a Canary girl but equally as well, she could have been a kitchen hand in a works canteen.

You need to research all the names (possibly local papers) to see if you can find out where she worked

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Shiny

Hi Radlad,

 

Thanks very much that sounds like a plan. I'd love to know which factory she was working in and what she was up to.

 

Michael 

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Shiny

I thought I'd share a few of the 100 odd pages

Lena 003 (Large).jpeg

Lena 013 (Large).jpeg

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Shiny

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Shiny

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kenf48

At Woolwich Arsenal the very young girls worked with the older and disabled men in the paper shop.  Girls sixteen to twenty were usually employed on mass production work such as cartridge filling.  The optimum age for filling was twenty four, and often older in part the maturity was needed for the strict discipline of the safety regime.

 

The Ministry of Munitions published many reports and there is a published history which includes statistics.

Some are available online, for example,

The Employment of Women and Juveniles

 

There were thousands of factories and workshops across U.K. and as the above report a spike in school leavers in 1915.

 

Ken

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Shiny

Thanks a lot Ken, I'll have a proper read of the report in the morning.

 

Michael 

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