by Ellie Miles, Documentary Curator
In December 2018, we launched the collecting project Where are all the women? and asked the public to contribute their stories about female family members, ancestors or employees who may have worked in the transport industry in London, or across the United Kingdom, from 1800 to the present day. Here follows a little update on how the collecting project is going.
So far, we have been trusted with some remarkable stories which I’d like to share with you. We have heard about women who found that they were the only females working in an area at the time, whether that was twenty or seventy years ago:
“Mum said she worked in the ticket office at Waterloo station during the war. She was the only female employee in the ticket offices.” – Ann Westfold, describing her mother’s work during the Second World War
“For a while I was the only female train operator on the Bakerloo line.” – Hannah Wood, talking about her job in the 1990s
We have a range of dates covered already, from the last of the horse-drawn era in the 1940s to the Jubilee Line Extension in the 1990s:
“Rose worked on horse-drawn vehicles at King’s Cross and St Pancras from the late 1940s until the 1960s… At only four foot nine inches and weighing six and a half stone, Rose’s small stature was quite a contrast to the large heavy horses she worked with.” – Margaret Palmer, describing her mother’s work
“I joined in 1998 when there was a big recruitment drive for the Jubilee Line Extension. Saw the advert for station assistant at Whitechapel station and decided to apply.” – Nicola Dinneen, describing the start of her career
Vic Roberts tells us she was a “driver, manager and then mechanic. I was part of the much unseen fabric that we women create.” She features in images in the Museum’s collection, and donated a set of photographs that she took of her colleagues.
There is still time to submit your story, and we would love you to do that so we can share it. Here are some frequently asked questions about the project:
I’m a woman and I work in transport – can I put myself forward?
Of course! We love first-hand accounts of your work and it’s great to hear from the experts.
Do you want stories that aren’t all positive? Sometimes work has been difficult and I’ve faced sexism in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many people face discrimination at work and have experienced unfair treatment, harassment and bullying. If this is part of your story, please include it in your account so we can preserve a full picture.
I’m a trans woman, is my story welcome?
Yes, we would be very pleased to hear from you, and grateful that you have chosen to share your story with London Transport Museum. The experiences of non-binary people and transgender women are under-represented in our collections and we would like to correct this. If you can help, we’d be delighted.
We look forward to hearing from you. Just pop over to Where are all the women? project webpage and fill out the form there!