Women of Steel – Sheffield, England - Atlas Obscura

Sheffield, England

Women of Steel

A tribute to the women who quietly kept the local steelworks alive during both world wars. 

This bronze statue is a long overdue tribute to the women who kept Sheffield’s steelworks running during both World War I and World War II.

During the wars, many of the steelworkers of Sheffield and other South Yorkshire steel towns such as Rotherham and Stocksbridge entered the armed forces. Their absence left a serious shortage of manpower within a strategically important industrial center. Fortunately, the local women stepped up and filled the voice magnificently.

The women were thrust into a dangerous and physically demanding industry with minimal training, and though they kept the furnaces, forges, and rolling mills running during both wars, their sacrifices and hard work were met with little appreciation. When the wars ended and the men came home, the women were laid off.

This evocative bronze sculpture showing two female steelworkers in 1940s-style working dress was sculpted by Martin Jennings and was unveiled close to the Sheffield City Hall concert venue in June 2016. The unveiling was attended by 100 women who had worked in the steelworks.