Women in the Industry; St Ives.

St Ives Archive won a national award for a project focusing on the history of women in industry.
Interviews with Janet Axten, Maggie Davis, Vera Care (née Barber) and Iris Bidgood.

The Women’s History Network Community Prize, sponsored by the History Press, rewarded last year’s project on women working in the textile industry in St Ives. The Project looked back over the 40-year period when St Ives was the home of a vibrant industry based in former pilchard cellars near The Island. Most of the employees were women, who went into the factories when they left school at the age of 14, yet much of the work they did has since been all but forgotten.

It brought together a wide range of researchers and resources from across the community to shed light on a group of women workers who were hidden from history. The Archive’s aim with the project was to give the women workers a voice in telling their own history.
A series of events were organised so past employees and others in the community could meet to exchange memories of the factories and record accounts.

Judges said the project left a legacy for others to explore this area of women’s history.
St Ives Archive Heritage Manager Janet Axten said: “This is very exciting news. Everyone should be congratulated for the enormous amount of work they’ve done towards achieving this prize. It’s truly a community project and one that St Ives should be very proud to receive.”

Maggie Davis, a St Ives Archive volunteer who headed the Women In Industry project, travelled to London to collect the award and appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour to discuss the work.
Volunteers who worked on the project thanked all the people who shared their memories and photographs.


Produced by St IvesTV with the help of Morag Robertson - 18 December 2018.