YEP says: Industry ambassadors are still needed in today’s world

Cotton Queen Marjorie Knowles. Image courtesy of Lancashire County Library Service

The Queens of Industry was a fascinating idea.

They were chosen to promote products manufactured in the UK. This was at a time when the UK was the global leader in production and innovation for industries like textiles, steel, coal and rail and the Queens were chosen to be the representatives to go out into the world.

They were generally young, and pretty, women plucked from the factory floor to be transported into a glitzy whirlwind of international jet-setting, photoshoots and film roles. But to concentrate on that would be to denigrate what these women achieved.

They were flagbearers for their industries - industries which were very often dominated by men.

Strong working women are nothing new in the north. When glib comments are made about women being at home with the kids until the “sexual revolution” of the 1970s they seem to have forgotten about the women who filed in and out of mills and factories six days a week, as well as looking after the kids and running a home.

The world may have changed, and industry queens are unlikely to make a comeback, but going out into the world and showcasing what we can produce, invent and make in the UK is still vital. Businesses and civic leaders are doing it all the time,

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