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I am often approached by complete strangers in the sauna who say to me, "it's not often I read your history articles unless I am bored, however I am shocked to see that you rarely mention women in your articles and when you do they are portrayed as brawling drunks. I hope your not one of those misogynist types that I have read about in the "Sun" newspaper"

History With Flynn

Yes, yet another vile calumny heaped on my already stooped shoulders, just ask any one of my ex-wife's if I am a pesky misogynist!

So to balance the scale and set the record right I present to you a tale of the fairer sex, no ordinary woman this though, No, sirree, a world's first for this girl and for Irlam no less.

I give to you Mrs Eva Trendall who on possibility could have been the worlds first female "Steeple-Jill", yes you read that correctly, "Steeple - Jill" and here is her astonishing story culled from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, December 1918.

Mrs Eva Trendall was a married woman with two children who resided at 83, Dixon Street, Irlam when she made the headlines with the title, "Irlam Woman's World Record".

Eva was employed by her father, Phillip Myles a steeplejack with a "world wide reputation having carried out extensive chimney work in all parts of the United Kingdom and in America"

She was born in America but moved to England as a young girl and with her two brothers soon joined in the family trade.

Before moving to Irlam we learn that she had assisted her father in,

"Minor details of the work of chimney building but it is here in Irlam that she has accomplished her greatest feat.

"For many months she has been engaged as a winch driver to her father whilst erecting 100 foot chimneys at the blast furnaces at Partington Steel and Iron Works in Irlam"

By all accounts a winch driver jobs was and still is one of great importance with the lives of men working on the chimneys, dependent on her skill and here we read of a example in which her quick thinking saved a possible disaster.


She noticed that the strands of wire rope by which men and materials were were winched up the chimney showed signs of weakness and was just held together by a few strands of wire.

She quickly hoisted the men down to safety who in their rush to get down left their tools at the top of the chimney and who could blame them?

After examining  the cable the men refused to go back up, however plucky Eva volunteered to be winched up and retrieved their tools!

When the chimney was was complete it remained for the lightning rod to be affixed at the top and fastened all the way down, once again Eva undertook to do the job, a decidedly hazardous task requiring nerves of steel.

She soon completed the job in hand and upon setting her feet on the ground was embraced by her father who declared himself to be the father of the only woman who could do such a piece of delicate and dangerous work, and it had taken her only half a day!

Eva told the reporter,

"It was nothing I did not feel in the least nervous, I rather enjoyed the view which I got from such an altitude, it was just like being on the deck of a ship, my father warned me that the hoist would swing, which it did, I simply went with it and was as cool when I cam down as when I went up.

"I'll tell you what I should like now, I would really like to go up in an aeroplane and if there are any cheap models to be had, now that the war is over, I shall have one"

You have to admire her bravery, she seems fearless and a very formidable young woman.

Sadly I came across a piece in the same newspaper which stated that Eva later met with an accident at the steel works whilst in charge of some machinery which nearly cost her live.

She was dragged around a winding cable drum and her right hand was described as being, "permanently damaged as a consequence"

What a sad end to to such an inspiring story of this brave woman, I would love to know what happened to her, did she go back to her job, more importantly did she ever realise her dream of flying in an aeroplane, I do hope she did, she fully deserved it.

So if you are a relative of Eva or know anything about this remarkable woman please let me know.


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