Sheffield’s “Women Of Steel”, who kept the munitions factories working to help win two world wars, have become the first members of the inaugural Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.
It is to be located at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce’s offices in Savile Street and will honour the steel city’s unsung women who toiled away in the city’s steel factories while the men were away fighting both wars.
Outgoing chamber president Jillian Thomas wanted to create the hall as a lasting legacy and chose the “Women of Steel” after meeting some of the ladies who worked in the wartime factories.
This latest recognition follows the unveiling of the Women of Steel statue in the city centre earlier this year, which was made possible after former wartime factory workers Kathleen Roberts, Kit Sollitt, Ruby Gascoigne and Dorothy Slingsby spearheaded a campaign to raise £170, 000.
Jillian said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as president of the chamber of commerce and I really wanted to establish the chamber’s Hall of Fame to ensure that people across a range of sectors can be honoured for the contribution they have made to the business community in the city.
“I am so proud to announce that the first people to be inaugurated into the Hall of Fame are the Women of Steel.
“It is a pleasure to further recognise everything that these amazing women achieved all those years ago and I couldn’t think of anyone better to induct into the Hall of Fame first.
“When I met with three of the Women of Steel, Kit, Kath and Ruby, they were delighted with their most recent accolade.
“It was an absolute honour to meet them and present them with their Hall of Fame trophy.”
She added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as president and I am very much looking forward to hosting The President’s Annual Dinner which will celebrate the economic impact the arts, heritage and culture have had on Sheffield.
“Martyn Ware, founder of The Human League and Heaven 17, is our lead speaker for the evening. Then one of Sheffield’s finest groups Heaven 17 will be playing a concert live – featuring some Human League tunes - to culminate the evening’s festivities.”
Each year the chamber president will choose three inductees to the Hall of Fame. The other inaugurates will be announced at The President’s Annual Dinner at Sheffield Cathedral on September 29.