Dr Janet Harvey

HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF ENGINEERING

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As an electrician in the Clyde’s shipyards, Janet Harvey played a crucial role in Britain’s war effort and helped break down gender barriers. 

Born in Dennistoun, Janet was called up in 1941 on her eighteenth birthday. Opting against roles as a welder and in the Land Army, Janet chose to become one of just a handful of women working as an electrician alongside the 100,000 men toiling around the clock in the city’s ship yards. 

She spent three months studying the trade before joining Harland and Wolff in Govan and then moving to John Brown’s in Clydebank – where she was one of just three women electricians.

Throughout the conflict Janet would leave her home at 6am and return at 8pm – often just in time to be alerted to an air raid and a sleepless night in a shelter. 

At both yards, Janet wired destroyers for the Navy – a role she has compared to knitting: just follow the pattern. Working in the bowels of the ships, Janet and her colleagues toiled in filthy and often dangerous conditions seven days a week. 

When peace was declared, and the city’s male workforce returned from the front, Janet and women like her across the country were told their services were no longer required. She began a new career with the Co-operative Society but, given the opportunity, would have loved to continue her career as an electrician.

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