Uncovering the untold stories of Britain’s women engineers

WES Wikithon

This September, in its centenary year, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is taking part in the Heritage Open Days festival (13 - 22 September), opening doors and holding events in enticing historical venues around the country.

As part of its Centenary Trail Project, WES is joining forces with England’s largest festival of history and culture and is celebrating some of the people and places that have played a part in its fascinating history.

Visitors will be able to combine their love of engineering and history, and have the opportunity to explore places not always open to the public for FREE, allowing them to learn more about the heritage on their doorstep.

Specifically, WES will be helping to celebrate 2019’s ‘People Power’ themed events which focus on highlighting communities, groups and individuals who have affected positive change.

Creative Writing at Armley Mills Industrial Museum by Electrifying Women project  

A creative writing workshop led by Hannah Stone exploring the hidden history of women in engineering.

15 September 2019

This creative writing workshop at the historic Armley Mills Industrial Museum in Leeds offers participants the chance to engage with the stories of the extraordinary women who have been involved in engineering since the Victorian era. This workshop has been organised by the Electrifying Women project, based at the University of Leeds, which aims to tell people about the significant history of female engineers.

Led by creative writing expert, Hannah Stone, the two-hour workshop will involve several writing activities. These will explore what it was like to be a woman engineer at a time when women’s place in the working world, especially in industry, was constantly being challenged. This workshop is perfect for anyone with an interest in creative writing, women’s history and the history of engineering.

Time: 14:00 – 16:00

Venue: Armley Mills Industrial Museum, 56 Canal Road, Leeds

Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage & Education Centre
This historical building will be brought to life through costumed characters, finds from its archives, an interactive exhibition ‘From Coffee to Seaweed’, and a virtual reality ship surveyor.

16 - 17 September 2019

From small beginnings, the Lloyd’s Register grew into an international organisation for the safety of life at sea. The people that have worked there ensured that maritime technology, engineering and safety have improved throughout its 259-year history. Today, the Lloyd’s Register Group and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation work together towards engineering a safer world.

Visitors will get an exclusive look at their new exhibition, a chance to try out our virtual reality game and the opportunity to meet some of our historic characters! Out team who look after 259 years of maritime history will be on hand to show you some of our archive highlights, and to tell you about the people power and extraordinary women that have been integral to the story of Lloyd’s Register.

Times: Various tours

Venue: Lloyds Register, 71 Fenchurch Street, London, Greater London, EC3M 4BS

Electrifying Women archives workshop

A workshop exploring the Leeds Special Collections to learn about the history of women in engineering.

17 September 2019

This workshop will give participants the chance to learn more about the history of women in engineering through the Feminist Archives North. The workshop, led by Professor Graeme Gooday and Dr Emily Rees, will explore primary sources and enable participants to access and use archives, and handle historic objects. This is a perfect workshop for anyone with an interest in engineering, women's history or any general curiosity about using archives!

Time: 16.00 - 18.00

Venue: Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT

Wentworth Woodhouse: Women in Engineering

Come and explore the exciting reality of engineering in heritage regeneration at Wentworth Woodhouse - 'the UK's largest restoration project' (BBC, 2018).

19 September 2019

Meet some of the inspirational women working on the project and hear about the day to day activities their incredible jobs entail. Then have a private tour around the site and rooftops to gain a unique insight into the scale of this historic undertaking and the expertise involved, from the ladies leading it! Learn about some remarkable women engineers from the past with experts from the Women's Engineering Society Centenary Trail Society and the Electrifying Women Project then chat with the engineers involved in the £150 million restoration. Finally, enjoy lunch in beautiful historic surroundings. This is a limited activity as the scaffolding is temporary so don't miss out on this awe inspiring opportunity!

Time: 09.00 - 13.00

Venue: The Mansion, Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S62 7TQ

Pre-booking required


Electrifying Women - A WES Wikithon

Join the Women’s Engineering Society at The Women’s Library at LSE to edit and add information about historical women engineers to Wikipedia.

21 September 2019 

WES are working with Heritage Open Days and the Electrifying Women project (a collaboration between the University of Leeds and the Science Museum) to run this event for the celebrated Women’s Library, at the London School of Economics (LSE). Training will be provided by inspiring Wikimedian, Dr Alice White from the Wellcome Trust. Participants can develop their digital skills and learn how to harness the power of the internet.

Training and historical resources (including suggested engineers) will be provided. Complete beginners and experienced editors are both welcome to attend.

Time: 13:00 – 17:00

Venue: The Women’s Library, London School of Economics

Miss Jeanie Dicks Flicks the Switch - the woman who electrified Winchester Cathedral          

Join WES in celebrating the undiscovered life and work of Miss Jeanie Dicks who managed the first electrification of Winchester Cathedral.

21 September 2019   

A woman undertaking such a high-profile engineering role was very unusual and press-worthy in 1934, although her name and astonishing story has has since been forgotten.

Led by speaker, Ceryl Evans, attendees will learn how complicated a job it was and how Miss Jeanie Dicks and her crew of 75 employees did it. As a history curator Ceryl was instantly intrigued and will share her discoveries.

Time: 17:30 – 18:30

Venue: Winchester Discovery Centre Winchester

To see further event information and to book any of these FREE events, please see: https://www.wes.org.uk/events