Tag Archives: employment

Women employed for the war effort

In March 1915 the Labour Exchange in Turner Street, Ramsgate, claimed that no able-bodied person need be unemployed. Women were wanted as farm and dairy hands, for leather stitching, brush making, machining clothing and for light machining for parts for the armaments industry.

By April 1915 there were already signs in the Thanet Advertiser that women were starting to take on the jobs of the men who had left for the front:-

It is all to the good, therefore, that women should take up the lighter duties of distribution, and there are many duties in the railway, postal, police, and administrative services that might well be done by women, thus releasing many fit men for the greater and heavier employments.

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Ramsgate in August 1914


Ramsgate was a town of some 30,000 inhabitants whose prosperity in 1914 relied heavily on its visitors in the summer season, whether day trippers or boarders. Other important industries were the railway, fishing and market gardening. A large flour mill and brewery were also important employers in the town. The many small family-run shops and businesses were busy catering for visitors and townsfolk alike, offering a level of personal service unknown to most of us a century later. Some tradespeople were directly involved in servicing summer visitors, such as bath chair proprietors, licensed porters, and a bathing machine proprietress, as well as all those people who ran furnished apartments, boarding houses and dining rooms. Other important jobs were servicing the boat owners, sailors and fishermen in the harbour, such as sail makers, ships’ chandlers, shipwrights, and smack owners.

Many young men would have been apprentices before enlisting in the army but one local man was listed as a Journeyman butcher, one who had completed his apprenticeship, but was not yet considered a master-craftsman. Another was a Brewer’s carman, who drove the wagon with the barrels to deliver them to customers or to the railway stations.Yet another was simply listed as an errand boy.Here are some of the other jobs, those we know about mainly from the local papers, that the young men of Ramsgate had before enlisting:-

Ramsgate Council employees Shopkeepers, managers and assistants
Local school masters Insurance clerks
Builders Bank employees
Doctors Shipwrights
Local Reporters Printers
Policemen Postmen and GPO employees
Gas works employees Newspaper distributors
Coach builder Plumbers, carpenters
Painters and decorators Hotel and catering staff
Cinematograph operators Signwriter