Nina Baker: Daughters of Vulcan – Women and the Glasgow Hammermen: Thursday 7th October 2021

The first meeting in the 2021-22 session of the Antiquaries is a talk by Dr Nina Baker entitled 'Daughters of Vulcan - Women and the Glasgow Hammermen' in Engineering'. Due to the decision of the Society's committee to postpone holding conventional live meetings until January 2022, it will be in the form of a live Zoom virtual meeting. The link to join it will be sent to members by the previous day, Wednesday 6th October 2021.

In her new talk, Nina poses the question: 'What is the connection between the famous Saracen’s Head pub in Glasgow’s east end and the city’s first ‘hammerwoman'? The Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow has, for the vast majority of its very long history as one of the 14 Trades of Glasgow, been an organisation of men who wielded hammers. But things change and history moves on. Her talk will introduce the history of the Incorporation of Hammermen to those unfamiliar with this Scottish equivalent of the English Guilds and Livery Companies. She will then reveal her research which led to the discovery of the extraordinary life of the woman believed to have been the earliest woman involved with the Incorporation as well as more recent women members of the Craft in Glasgow.

The Saracen's Head in Glasgow's east end. (© N Baker)

Dr Nina Baker has had a varied career - she became a merchant navy deck officer on leaving school and then, in her 30s, obtained an engineering design degree from the University of Warwick and later a PhD in concrete durability from the University of Liverpool. She has lived with her family in Glasgow since 1989, working variously as a materials lecturer in further education and as a research administrator and, until 2017, as an elected city councillor. Now retired, her interest in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers for girls has led her to become an independent researcher, mainly specialising in the history of women in engineering. 

In January 2021, Nina spoke on 'Scotswomen Working in Engineering', and this presentation is still available for viewing on the Society's YouTube channel which can be found here