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Railwaywomen: Exploitation, Betrayal and Triumph in the Workplace Hardcover – 1 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hastings Press; 1st Edition edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904109047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904109044
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 2.3 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 427,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

An award-winning author and publisher

The holder of a BSc Honours degree in Social Science and Social History, Helena Wojtczak is a researcher, writer and speaker on women's history. She occasionally gives public talks and lectures and speaks at conferences at universities and museums.

She is an occasional tutor in women's history and the methodology of research for the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton. She has written for the Oxford University Press, Ashgate, the TSSA, the RMT and Hunter House Publishing, as well as numerous newspapers and magazines, and also for various websites including The Victorian Web and Encyclopaedia Titanica, and has appeared on TV and BBC radio.

Her books have received critical acclaim from Dr Dale Spender, Dr Gerry Holloway, Dr Gillian Reynolds, Dr Jo Stanley, Dr Terry Gourvish, the Rt Hon. Tony Benn MP, Glenda Jackson MP, Michael Foster MP, New Statesman, Morning Star, Labour Research Magazine, Steam World Magazine, the President of the RMT, Women's History Review, Gender, Work and Organisation, The Argus, Sussex Express, Open History Magazine, Backtrack, the British Association for British History, Christian Wolmar, Adrian Vaughan, Ray Hatley and many others.

In 2007 Railwaywomen won the joint Writers' News Magazine / David St John Thomas Charitable Trust Award for Best Non Fiction Book and the Silver Cup and prize for Self-Published Book of the Year. Notable Sussex Women won the prize for the Best Local Book, 2009.


Books (sole author)

Notable Sussex Women (2008)
Railwaywomen (2005)
Women of Victorian Sussex (2003)
Women of Victorian Hastings (2002)
Notable Women of Victorian Hastings (2002)

Books (contributor)

Damcoupe Vaimovaen-Osasto Naisia Rautateiden Palveluksessa (University of Helsinki, 2010) Gendered Journeys, Mobile Emotions (Ashgate, 2009)
The Oxford Companion to British Railway History (Oxford University Press, 1999)


Websites

Women of Victorian Hastings and St Leonards
A Century of Railwaywomen 1900~2000
British Women's Emancipation since the Renaissance
Sussex Women


Publishing

Helena owns and runs the Hastings Press, carrying out most of the proofreading, editing, book cover design, typesetting, website design and maintenance and administration. She runs occasional public seminars on self-publishing and advises individual authors by private consultation.

Railways

At the age of 19 Helena became the first woman employed as a guard by British Rail. Read about her experiences of being a woman recruited and trained in a male industry here.

Working on the railways led her to research and write the award-winning book Railwaywomen. Since being launched at the House of Commons, at the TUC Conference and at the National Railway Museum. The book has received considerable acclaim including a plethora of excellent reviews.

Now Britain's foremost authority on the history of women working on the railways, she has acted as a consultant historian to the National Railway Museum and gives illustrated presentations on the subject, most recently at the Swedish State Railway Museum in Gavle, and the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Personal

Born in Sussex, Helena Wojtczak (pronounced 'Voy-t-chak') lived in London for twenty-two years and is now happily back in her native county. Her pet hate is being called "Helen".

Product Description

Review

"A wonderfully complete picture of railwaywomen in war and peace." -- Gail Braybon, historian

"Meticulous archival research. Traces the trials, tribulations and triumphs of railwaywomen". -- Dr Gerry Holloway, Sussex University

"Such tales, such adventures and such achievements against the odds. Heroically researched, illuminatingly written and entertaining. I loved it." -- Dale Spender, educator and historian

"Superb documentary evidence. Future historians will see this work as the definitive history of women in the railway industry." -- Dr Gillian Reynolds, Coventry University

"The definitive guide to the place of women in the history of Britain’s railways." -- THE ARGUS

"Wojtczak has a rare talent which combines rigorous academic research with an immense gift
for storytelling." -- MICHAL BONCZA, THE MORNING STAR, 13 SEPT 2005

A well-written work in a style that never becomes dry, heavy or patronising. -- Steam World magazine

An unbiased, academically excellent and very entertaining work of history. Beautifully written from what has clearly been meticulous research. -- Adrian Vaughan

Wojtczak has a rare talent which combines rigorous academic research with an immense gift for storytelling. -- The Morning Star

From the Inside Flap

"An unbiased, academically excellent and very entertaining work of history. Beautifully written
from what has clearly been meticulous research. The author’s concern for honesty and justice
shines forth." ADRIAN VAUGHAN

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. A. H. Done on 28 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is unquestionably the best book on Railway Women in print... well it might be the ONLY such book. However that in no way diminishes my appreciation of this superbly researched, and able told story - Helena's researches are communicated in a manner that is lively and compelling, and whilst she at times unfolding a story of supreme lack of appreciation, value and recognition, backed up by hefty chuncks of documentary evidence, this is NOT a dry, musty text book. The interviews with the railway women - especially from the WW2 period are superb. I could read their recollections all day.

This sbook will amaze, astound and drive you at times alost to distraction in the face of some of the incredible attitudes of the Railway establishment...

BUT THIS BOOK. An essential addition to the railway history of this country.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Mar 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a joy to read. The women whose story is told here are brought to life in a welter of colourful anecdotes. We share their bravery, their humour and their frustration at prevailing attitudes that now appear shameful and - in the inertia and hypocrisy of the unions - outrageous. The author's passion is evident throughout. The reader comes to share her profound admiration for a group of people whose unassuming heroism – not least in their work on the railways during two world wars – has until now been overlooked. Seldom has
serious social research been so thoroughly entertaining; seldom is a hidden period of history truly brought to light, for our enrichment and delight.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda Wright-Smith on 1 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is beyond doubt the finest workplace history I've ever read. Why this has never been done before is a bit of a mystery, since all the information was available (albeit buried!). Beautifully written with humour, irony, heavily understated wry comments and fascinating detail, the book abounds with so much humanity. What an insight into the railway industry, one that we take for granted. The chapters on the two world wars are undeniably the very best, and should be read by anyone studying the Home Front and women's work in the wars. I never dreamed that women did such work on the railways as Ms Wotjcezk shows that they did! Truly well-written, entertaining and enlightening!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought I'd previously reviewed this work, but Amazon records that I haven't...nonetheless...

This is a crucially important book on a number of levels...

It's first and foremost, a rare account of the role of women within the earlier years of British railways, and onwards into the modern era...In the early years women were in some respects unusual; Even in the median years their presence was unfortunately often limited to archetypal roles, but they were nonetheless present more often than one might expect

Secondarily it's a personal, and amazingly modest, account of a young lady who was the very first female guard ever appointed on British Railways...

Thirdly it's generally fascinating as part of the development of the railways.

I came across this book because my father, uncle and grandfather all worked for railways in the South-East of England, my grandad for the London Brighton an South Coast as a messenger, my father and uncle for the Southern Railway administration, and later British Railways.

It is an excellent account historically, fully referenced, but more importantly beautifully written and emminently readable.

On a personal level, railways are in my blood, and this author's work I could read until the legendary bovines are repatriated!
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By cairns TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Jan 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The previous reviews, and the fact that people of the calibre of Tony Benn, Christian Wolmar and Terry Gourvish, among others, are admirers of Helena Wojtczacs' writing, together with authors of the calibre of Michael Williams using the book for reference, gives you the impression that this is a great work. They are substantially correct. This book charts the whole history of women on the railways from the very beginning. A reader could be forgiven for thinking that the massive innovation of the railways would lead to innovation in working arrangements. Not so. Perhaps because they were run in a military fashion, quite often by ex military officers, and that the personnel were " railway servants", precluded this. The early reference material just is not there, so the book really gets going at the beginning of WW 1, where there is obviously lots more material on record. The unions, NUR, and ASLEF quite rightly, are shown in a very bad light. The former took the women's subscriptions but did nothing for them. This I found very touching. Their official history apparently tries to cover up their blatant wrongdoings thus making a terrible story even worse. They had to face quite an amusing dichotomy. Should they try and get equal pay for women doing men's jobs during the war thus keeping the rate for the job, or should they ensure that women's pay seriously lagged behind men's, as usual, which perhaps would lower the rate for when a man returns to the job! Lots of head scratching there no doubt. ASLEF did not worry itself over the problem, it just did not accept that women existed. The RCA was a little bit better, but not as good as it should have been. Most women had to leave their comparably well paid jobs at the end of hostilities .Read more ›
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