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  • Ruby today.

A Woman of Steel


Product Description

Ruby Gascoigne, along with Dorothy Slingsby, Kit Solitt and Kathleen Roberts represented the thousands of South Yorkshire women that kept Sheffield's armaments industry in production in World War Two.

They won their fight for recognition and a statue is set to be built in their honour in the very heart of Sheffield.

Local author Stephen Johnson has now written 'Woman of Steel' to tell Ruby Gascoigne's life story.

It's the life of an ordinary working class girl who lived through extraordinary times and proved, even on the eve of your ninetieth birthday, you’re never too old to fight for what’s right.

Ruby's is a life of laughter and sadness that starts right back in the shadow of WW1, in the poverty-stricken Sheffield ot the early 1920s, and ends with her take on aspects of modern life that cause her amazement and sometimes downright annoyance.

Born in Darnall in 1922, Ruby had no choice but to heed Churchill’s words: “Give us the tools and we will finish the job”.

The work in the steelworks was hard, the conditions harrowing and, despite being the daughter of a regular soldier, nothing could ever prepare her for conscription as she joined a generation of women toiling in the factories, making vital components to help crush the Nazis as the menfolk fought overseas.

It's now over 70 years since the great, great, grandmother took her first nervous steps into WT Flather's Standard Steelworks in Tinsley after the sweetshop she worked in on Division Street in Sheffield was completely wiped out by bombing.
Ruby Gascoigne said: "I had never been in a works in my life but I was told to start on Monday. I was utterly terrified,"
"By the time I went home at 10 o'clock on the first day I cried all the way."
The incredible contribution of thousands of South Yorkshire women would have been largely forgotten if it hadn’t been for the ‘Women of Steel’ campaign that gave Ruby a new purpose in later life as she, and her three colleagues, took their fight for recognition to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.

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