“Behind every successful man is a strong woman” – How can a woman thrive in a man’s world? You might think it’s impossible for a woman, but for Polly Shelby, nothing’s impossible.
Peaky Blinders, an original Netflix series was based on the aftermath of the war, how people lived and how did the people survive with PTSD and famine. For five seasons of the show, Helen McCrory who played Polly Shelby Gray, has made a mark on Shelby Company Limited by being the brains and the matriarch of the Shelby Clan.
Polly Shelby had a great influence on the rise of the company along with the four brothers, Arthur, Thomas, John, and Finn. Although, the most that she had a very significant print on was with Thomas, the second brother who was also the head of the company.
There’s no denying that Thomas was pretty smart, but Polly had a great mind with an exemplary thought for everything around her. Let the boys do the heavy lifting, while Polly Shelby sits in grace, posing for portraits, and relaxes knowing that she had led the boys into a successful future.
As the company treasurer, her opinion is seen as valuable as the company owners’ namely the three older brothers although, being the only woman in the company in the first season. In addition to this, during World War I, when her nephews were enlisted for a few years, Polly was the one holding down the family business.
Polly gives a soft touch that turns their otherwise rough way of living into something sophisticated and polished that has a semblance of order. She has a great influence in the direction that the company takes often seen whenever they conduct business and family meetings. All the while being a confidant to the utmost leader of the company, Tommy. Polly Shelby has operated behind the shadows of the men, more often than not, their personal and business rivals have no idea of her presence or her skills.
This has been shown multiple times in the show where their enemies become overconfident when faced with the idea that Tommy is out of the game or disabled and the other brothers couldn’t do anything else. Little do they know that Polly has always been the foundation of the whole family. When faced with her wrath, things will always go her way.
Men have often depicted women in a lower manner, but one notable event during the series that shows Shelby Company Limited was more forward thinking during their time was the fact that women were given votes and voices regarding company matters. Along with Polly, there are also other women within the company that have proven to be a value such as: Lizzie, the company secretary, Ada, her neice the Acquisitions Manager, and Esme who is John’s wife, the bookkeeper. These women have shown multiple times throughout the series that they can handle their own and take up the responsibilities within the company especially since the men often go missing.
In Polly’s death on the final season 6, an iconic character that set standards and has added her Polly-finesse was a great loss to the Shelby Company Limited. With her absence, can the men in charge be capable of something as great as she did? Tommy had times where he admitted that it has been very hard for Tommy to operate the company without Polly because she was his closest confidant and the person he trusted most. She was the super power, the heart and soul of Shelby Company Limited.