Jobs for the Girls – can you help?

This week on the Secret Library we hear from author Ysenda Maxtone Graham, who is looking for contributors to her next book…

I’m an author and journalist called Ysenda Maxtone Graham. The book I’m writing at the moment is going to be called Jobs for the Girls, all about what happened to women in the years between 1945 and 1985, after they left school and started making their way in the world of jobs and careers. 

Crowd of people, mainly women, with football trophy
Image shows the smiling staff of Hepworths Ltd., tailoring factory in Claypit Lane, as they crowd round to admire the English League Division One Trophy won by Leeds United in 1973/4. (c) Leeds Libraries,

Thanks to help from the network of Leeds Libraries, I’ve already had a few fascinating chats with women from the Leeds and Bradford area, but I’d love some more. I’d like to talk to people who left school at 15 and went to work in factories and mills – Lister Mills, for example. Also if you worked in shops, department stores, coffee houses or in any other jobs. 

Prince Phillip talking to female workers at a factory
17th October 1958. Image shows HRH The Duke of Edinburgh meeting workers during a visit to the factory of Montague Burton Ltd. on Hudson Road. (c) Yorkshire Post Newspapers,

Did you carry on living at home? Did you give part of your wages to your parents for your upkeep? What was it like in the workplace? What happened when and if you got married and had children? 

Women working at factory machines
13th November 1968. The machine room at the Moor Road works of James Spencer Ltd. Four workers can be seen sewing laundry bags, they are left to right, Mrs Atherley, Mrs Wormald, Mrs Spurdon and Mrs Estell. (c) WYAS,

I’m aiming to capture the atmosphere of the workplace in those post-war years going up to the 1970s and 80s. The Friday afternoons, the clocking in and out, the lunch breaks, the bosses, the parties (if there were any), and the experience of doing the work itself, of whatever kind it was. 

Women working at factory machines
3rd December 1970. View of the interior of the factory of David Little and Company Limited, wholesale clothiers, (c) WYAS,

If you could get in touch with me by emailing, I’d be very grateful, and we could then have a chat on the phone.

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