A Bus Conductress, 1919

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM ART 2316
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Place made
Great Britain
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: pencil
  • medium: watercolour
  • Support: Height 393 mm, Width 279 mm
  • Frame: Depth 25 mm, Height 733 mm, Width 556 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: drawing

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Object description

image: A full length drawing of a woman bus conductor. She wears a blue uniform and hat, and carries the distinctive bus conductor's bags with leather straps crossing her chest.


The First World War created labour shortages as well as new employment and between July 1914 and January 1918 the number of women employed in Britain rose from 3,224,600 to 4,814,600. To be a bus conductor was one of the new roles available to women as large numbers of buses and drivers were sent to the Western Front. The first woman conductor was employed in November 1915 and a total of 3,500 women were employed by the London General Omnibus Company during the war. The changing role of women attracted much comment but as their work was vital to the war effort they had to be supported, if grudgingly. Women transport workers were initially paid less than the men they replaced but strike action settled this. They were employed as temporary replacements only and at the end of the war were dismissed by the bus companies and issued with service certificates. The Women’s War Work Section of the newly formed National War Museum set about to record the efforts of women during the war and commissioned many artists independently from the Government sponsored schemes.

History note

Imperial War Museum Women's Work Section commission



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All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.