Storying Sheffield


By Brendan Stone

Later today I’m attending Ruby Gascoigne‘s funeral, and I’ve been thinking about this remarkable lady. There’s lots online about Ruby’s life, and you can also buy her life story as a book. I wanted to share this brief reflection and tribute today.

Ruby Gascoigne was a wonderful person – generous, kind, smart and very funny. She was a wonderful ambassador for Sheffield, and testament to the pride, fortitude, and sacrifice of the women of Sheffield during the second world war. I was fortunate enough to meet her on several occasions over the last few years. Our first meetings came about when my students worked with several of the ‘women of steel’ to learn about and make a film about their experiences. Subsequently, I met Ruby at several screenings of the film, where I led ‘public interviews’ with her and her friends, one of which was in the grand surroundings of the Town Hall for International Women’s Day. More recently, two Canadian filmmakers contacted me and I took them to meet with Ruby, who was as welcoming and lovely as ever, even though she was not well at the time.

Ruby made a huge impression on me and on the students who worked with her. It was really wonderful to watch her talking with young women from very different backgrounds and finding so many ways to connect with them across the gaps of decades of experience. And larger audiences were charmed and enthralled when Ruby spoke about her life. Ruby’s remarkable character seemed to shine through whenever I met her.

On this page, I’ve put a few of the photos which were taken at the various events and meetings, and also a link to the student-made film ‘Women of Steel’. Rest in peace Ruby, and thank you.


Most images here were taken by Andy Brown of Picture Story Productions.