It’s International Women’s Day which seems like a good reason to share this collection of pictures of women working in breweries and pub we’ve been bookmarking in old brewery magazines.
There’s an editorial choice being made here, of course: to find these pictures of cool women doing cool stuff we had to wade through a lot of photos of secretaries sitting on men’s laps, booth babes, hop queens, cheese maidens, and bikini competitions. Don’t think from what you see below that Whitbread, Watney’s or any of these other firms were bastions of feminism.
You’ll also note that the pictures back up what we said in the post we wrote on women in British beer a few years ago: there’s not much evidence of female brewers in the post-war period, women being generally confined to administrative functions, bottling lines and laboratories. In fact, why not start in the lab?
There’s a whole story wrapped up in this next picture: Miss A. Ames joined the staff at Whitbread’s Norwich depot in 1920, following her father who was a foreman there. She was a member of the bottling gang and then, during World War II, stepped up to become ‘forewoman’, firewatching and sleeping in the shelter in the bottling depot. Then after the war, bottling ceased and she became a cleaner and tea lady.