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With the sudden need for aircraft, ammunition and electrical equipment, many factories had to be set up and staffed with workers to produce the supplies. This was an area in which many married women worked, being able to get jobs close to their homes and still look after their families. Some of the factories, recognising the need for childcare if these women were to be able to work, set up nurseries and crèches for the children of their staff. Other children were cared for by neighbours who were unable to work themselves. Up until this time mothers would have stayed at home to look after their children, so there were no nurseries then as there are today.

The factories employed women in making shells and fuses, assembling guns and testing them on special ranges at the factory, building aircraft, engines and parts for ships and submarines, assembling electrical components, cartoning army spares for distribution, making parachutes and many other jobs.
One of many posters encouraging women to work in the factories
Left, one of many posters encouraging women to work in the factories. Copyright IWM negative no. PS0023
The work was often boring, but most of the women knew how necessary it was and so they didn't mind. As everyone knew that it was important to keep people's spirits up during these hard times, the factories used to play music and the workers would often sing along. A popular radio programme at the time was called 'Music While You Work'.
Photo: Women filling shells in a munitions factory
Margaret's experiences in a munitions factory and information about working in the factories.
Click the player below to hear about Peggy's work in an engineering factory.

Women filling shells in a munitions factory. Copyright Imperial Was Museum neg D6246
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