Who was the first British woman London bus driver?


Despite the shortage of men in the transport workforce during WW1, no women were actually allowed to drive London buses.

This remained a strictly male preserve until the 1970s and the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Jill Viner was working as a London bus conductress and immediately took advantage of the new opportunities offered by the change in the law and applied to qualify as a driver.

British Movietone News filmed Jill’s first day at work explaining that she’d wanted to be a bus driver since she was eight years old.

By the 1970’s London Transport was over three thousand drivers short of what was needed to run a full service and it might be thought that she was kicking at an open door.

However the rampant sexism of the era was encapsulated in the Movietone commentary which was riddled with prejudice and stereotyping. In less than a minute the voiceover managed to include: Well, it’s the end of all those jokes about women drivers. Like it or lump it…. We men have brought it on ourselves. Red-headed Jill…. says she’ll wear the trousers. But with a pretty girl like Jill at the wheel, who’s complaining?

Who was the first British woman London underground train driver?

HANNAH DADDS 1941 – 2011

Hannah Dadds went to work at a London Underground station in 1969 and a few years later became a train guard.

In 1978 she completed the training to be an underground driver a job which she undertook for the next fifteen years.

Her sister, Edna, also worked for the underground as a guard and driver and they became the first all-female crew.

Who was the first British woman London bus conductor?


Mrs G Duncan was another First World War era woman who was recruited into the transport workforce to fill the gap left by men.

She was trained and licensed in 1915 and started working as a “clippie” for Tilling’s bus company on route 37 from Peckham.

The term “clippies” came from the ticket machines used by the bus conductors to clip tickets.

During the course of WW1, over four thousand women worked to keep London moving.

Despite the trailblazing efforts of women like Jill Viner and Hannah Dadds, women still only account for a fifth of the transport workforce in London and even less in other parts of the country.

image credit: Image by Andreas H. from Pixabay