Canary Girls Memorial Bike Ride & International Women's Day
Warehouse 701 is infused with history. Not only is it home to a vast multitude of nostalgic reclaimed furniture, oddities and architectural features but the building itself was once an iconic munitions factory, operating through both world wars. The branding and name of our reclamation centre is derived from the site’s wartime moniker; Warehouse 701 of The Royal Ordnance Factory at Rotherwas.
ROF Rotherwas opened in 1916, a time where women in western society were previously expected to stay home to take care of domestic duties and raise children. Hard labour jobs were very much considered to be ‘man’s work’. The first world war and its high demand for male soldiers meant that jobs usually reserved for men were now actively encouraging female recruits for the first time.
The Ordnance Factory employed between 4,000 and 6,000 women during its operation, many of whom gained the nickname ‘Canary Girls’ as the hazardous chemicals within the munitions factory would turn their skin yellow.
To commemorate and celebrate the efforts of these women, local artist Lin Mathias has organised a multi-step cycle tour of historical Hereford sites, in line with International Women’s Day; (Friday 8th March). One of the sites that cyclists will be visiting is Warehouse 701 to honour the building’s part in this pivotal time in history. If you would like to get involved in the cycle ride, please see all the necessary details on the event’s Facebook page.
International Women’s Day is a day dedicated to recognising the huge contributions that women have made to society throughout history, to celebrate gender equality and to raise awareness to the discrimination against women that still exists in the world today.