Working Lives on the Thames and Teesside

I visited Guildhall Art Gallery last weekend and there was a temporary display there about an East London oral history community project, Working Lives of the Thames Gateway. I might have assumed such a project would be all about dockers, but there were lots of women among the video clips who had worked in all kinds of areas such as textiles.

Working Lives of the Thames Gateway projectThe display is at Guildhall Art Gallery until end of February 2011. (As an aside, I was also amazed to see the remains of the Roman amphitheatre underneath the art gallery! I had never realised that there was one in London).

On a related note, I went to an event this week to celebrate the British Steel Collection. This impressive project has catalogued and conserved the British Steel archive at Teesside Archives, and used it to do a vast amount of community engagement work.

British Steel Collection website

The event was opened by Tom Blenkinsop MP, who related an experience of his to illustrate the importance of preserving such history. An elderly woman he met while on the campaign trail told him she had been in the steel industry; he asked if she worked in the canteen, only to be told no, she had been a crane operator!  Apparently something like 80% of Teesside crane operators were women during the Second World War.

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