Bedminster’s Tobacco Women

Event Details
Date: , 2022
Time: to
Location: Tobacco Factory
Price: Free
With: Helen Thomas
Series: South Bristol History Festival
Page Details
Section: Events
Subjects: Women
Tags: , , , ,
Posted: Modified:


This talk is based on a community oral history project, that in 2014, explored the lived history of local people who worked in the tobacco factories in Bedminster and Ashton. It offers an understanding of the social fabric of the Bedminster area, and the economic forces which have shaped our community. Helen will provide an overview of the manufacturing processes and how they changed over time; and an insight into what it was like for the workers: recruitment, working conditions, hierarchies and segregation, welfare provision and leisure. The presentation will include a large number of photographs of the factories and those who worked in them.

Women working in the tobacco stripping room in 1914


The Cigar-making room in 1922


  1. Wish I’d known about this. I would have loved to listen. My father was a foreman in the tobacco bonds, my sister a cigar girl in Raleigh Road, my sister-in-law made cigarettes in East Street, my late husband’s cousin was a foreman in Swindon. I myself worked for a time as PA to the Senior Medical Officer of Imperial Tobacco.
    It was all this plus my memories of fifteen-year-old school leavers walking up Glyn Vale in their brand new green overalls singing the latest pop tunes – soppy ones mostly.
    It was this history which I used as the base for my Tobacco Girls series.

  2. As a student in the late 1960s, I had a job in the Beating up Room at the East Street factory. I am now involved with the Clifton Womens Institute and we should love a presentation based on your research of W D and H O Wills factories

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