Janet Harvey

As an electrician in the River Clyde’s shipyards in Glasgow, Janet Harvey - who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering - played a crucial role in Britain’s war effort and helped break down gender barriers.

Called up in 1941 on her eighteenth birthday, she became one of just a handful of women working as an electrician alongside the 100,000 men toiling in the city’s shipyards at Harland and Wolff and John Brown’s – where she was one of three women sparks.

Janet wired destroyers for the Navy – a role she has compared to knitting: just follow the pattern. Working in the bowels of the ships, she and her colleagues toiled in filthy and often dangerous conditions seven days a week. When peace was declared, Janet and women like her across the country were told their services were no longer required and she began a new career with the Co-operative Society.