War helped level the playing field in women’s suffrage movement

In 1915 Thomas Swinney patented a machine for making brass shell cases. Many of their men were in the forces so Swinney's trained women how to use the machines and shells were sent to munitions factories here and in France. The foreman of this group is Bart Swinney, whose family still live in Morpeth, but who were the women?

In 1915 Thomas Swinney patented a machine for making brass shell cases. Many of their men were in the forces so Swinney's trained women how to use the machines and shells were sent to munitions factories here and in France. The foreman of this group is Bart Swinney, whose family still live in Morpeth, but who were the women?

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HERALD columnist Alan Davison has followed the fight for votes for women after the death of Northumberland Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.

The Herald The Past historian has uncovered these images showing how women were at work during the First World War.

He said: “They are a postscript to the Emily Davison Suffragette commemoration, reminding us of Emmeline Pankhurst’s prediction that the war would be the game-changer in the fight for women’s suffrage. It would show that women could do men’s work equally well and were essential for the survival of the country.

“In 1915, Thomas Swinney patented a machine for making brass shell cases. Many of their men were in the forces so Swinney’s trained women how to use the machines and shells were sent to munitions factories here and in France.

“The foreman of this group is Bart Swinney, whose family still live in Morpeth, but who were the women?”

With thanks to Fred Moffat and Maurice Ridley.