Munitions girls are the talk of The Steamie

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First World War commemorations continue at Govanhill Baths this month with a new musical drama on the young women who worked Scotland’s munitions factories.

Some 10,000 young women aged 15-18 worked at the largest explosives factory in the world at Gretna in 1915.

And that’s the focus for The Timbertown Girls —named after a phrase coined by a newspaper in 1917, for the girls who lived in temporary timber hostels at the factory.

Writer Chris Jones draws on the experiences of his grandmother, who came from Berwickshire to work at the factory the same year.

He told The Extra: “Using newspapers, narratives and archive material of the period, together with help from leading historians, I’ve aimed to create an impression of what it was like at the factory, as played out by the young women who worked there.

“The play explores the work conditions and the desire of the girls to ‘do their bit’ — but also their experiences of the recreation and leisure opportunities. They worked hard, earned more money than they ever had before and many wanted to spend it at dances, cinemas and on fashion.

“The factory brought together girls from different backgrounds, accents and values. They were so young by today’s standards, and however serious the work — and the girls worked 12 hour days — it was fuelled by a teenage zest for adventure.”

Dumfriesshire community theatre group Centre Stage are at the helm of the musical, having toured home turf and Cumbria throughout June, with funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund and Holywood Trust.

The Timbertown Girls land in Glasgow’s southside, and The Steamie at the historic Govanhill Baths, on July 26 — tickets free, but audience members are asked to register online.