Florence Cordell was one of the first women to work as a bus conductor in Britain. She, along with hundreds of other women, worked as a ‘conductorette’ for LGOC during the First World War, replacing the men who had left their jobs for war service. Before the war, Cordell worked for Faraday and Son making luxury lampshades but as fighting continued it became clear that such luxuries were no longer appropriate and she knew her job was in jeopardy.
In 1916 Cordell began training as a bus conductor, taking medical, IQ and maths tests to determine her suitability. She was based at varying locations including Willesden, Twickenham, Turnham Green and Highgate Archway garages. Women conductors earned five shillings a week less than men and they went on strike to demand equal pay.
As with all women who worked on the buses during the war, the end of the fighting in 1918 meant Cordell lost her job as she was replaced by the returning men.
Florence Cordell’s story features in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.
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Find out more: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/battlebus