WES Wiki Woman of the Month

Ella's father opened a canning factory, Batchelor's Peas Ltd, preserving vegetables, particularly peas. He died young and so, Ella, age 21, took over as managing director. Under her leadership the factory expanded and Batchelors became a household name.

While peas remained the main product, production expanded to soups, other vegetables and fruit. Ella Gasking opened a new pea canning factory at Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield, in 1937. It was the largest canning plant in Britain, covering 12 acres. It cost the enormous sum of £100,000 and was built and fitted with the latest technology - including electric appliances - and facilities and services for workers (mostly women), including keep-fit classes, tennis courts, hockey pitches and showers. It produced 1.5 million tins of peas a week.

Ella Hudson Gasking owned racehorses and her racing colours were yellow with green dots, representing the peas that paid for it. Her new Wikipedia page was written at our recent WES Centenary Trail Wikithon.