STUDENTS have taken part in a project to create an exhibition showcasing the work and lives of local women during the First World War.

A group of 10 more able and talented (MAT) Year 9 girls from Ysgol Treffynnon and pupils from Venerable Edward Morgan Catholic Primary School in Shotton worked on the project - which has a particular focus on their roles in the Queensferry Munitions Factory.

The Women in Flintshire During World War 1: Breaking Down Barriers project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to give a voice to these local women, share their stories and work with schools, volunteers and the local community with support from heritage and art professionals to achieve this.

In 1915, the Queensferry Munitions Factory was one of several factories to be built to increase production of artillery shells to sustain the fighting on the Western Front.

The plant was soon manufacturing gun cotton, Tetryl, TNT and MNT and extended over 300 acres at the height of production, employing more than 7,000 staff.

Over 70 per cent of the workers on the chemical process were women, many of whom went to work for the first time whilst their male family members went to fight abroad. Alongside the 'canary girls' who made the explosives, the factory also employed firewomen and the first policewomen in Flintshire.

The students worked to uncover the hidden stories of the women who worked in the factory.

They visited the Flintshire Record Office to look at photographs of the women in the factories and read official documents about women in work as well as diaries about how the factories were run.

They also conducted their own research and used census material to investigate some of the women they had found in the photographs, building up a picture of their lives, where they lived, who they lived with and their ages.

Using the information they had found, the students wrote diary entries for five women who worked in the factory, including one who worked as a policewoman, and created draft display panels for the exhibition with the theme of 'women's work and lives before and during the war'.

In the final session, taking their research about these five women as inspiration for their pieces, the students worked with Juliet Staines to create textile badges which would be attached to a replica munitions outfit, created by costume maker, Meridith Towne, for display alongside the exhibition.

They used lace to represent the pre war fashion, yellow ribbon to symbolise the 'Canary Girls' nickname that the women were given as their skin turned yellow from the chemicals, and dark green material for the khaki coloured uniforms. The students also incorporated colourful ribbons to represent the women's attempt to brighten up the dull and shapeless uniforms.

Student Shelby Trippas said: "It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed learning about the First World War from a different perspective and outside of normal lessons."

Siobhan Henry, head of humanities at Ysgol Treffynnon, said: "This project has been a fabulous opportunity for the girls to work with history professionals and to contribute to a real exhibition.

"The variety of engaging experiences that were offered to the girls was astounding and they enjoyed the challenge and pace.

"They will always remember this fantastic learning opportunity that has brought history to life and we are all very grateful to everyone who helped to make this happen."

A Community Heritage Day was held at Mancot Library in November to launch the pop-up exhibition.