Women Workers WW1
For the first eighteen months of the Great War, nearly all of the army's gun ammunition was filled at Woolwich, yet at the start of 1914 the Arsenal employed only half as many men as it had in 1901. At the start of the battle of Neuve Chapelle on 10th March 1915, the army would fire more shells in the opening barrage than had been fired in the whole of the Boer War. The Arsenal could not meet this scale of demand on its own, even with the men working 96 hours a week with just one day off every four weeks. The army's acute shortage of shells in the Spring of 1915 led to a political scandal - the Shell Scandal. The Prime Minister, Asquith, was forced into coalition government, and control of the Royal Ordnance Factories was transferred from Kitchener's War Office to a new Ministry of Munitions under Lloyd-George. He soon realised that only the mass employment of unskilled men and women in the factories could meet the army's needs. This "Dilution" of skill was negotiated with the trade unions, and from October 1915 the first women to work in the Arsenal since the previous century started their shifts. By the end of 1917 nearly 26,000 women - 35% of the Ordnance Factory workforce - worked in the Arsenal, mostly in shell filling and fuze and gaine assembly.
Women Workers WW2
Women Workers in the Danger Buildings
Danger Building Location (Today Thamesmead)
Last Surviving Danger Building Area
Women Worker newspaper clippings