On the buses with the clippies

Transport in Portsmouth, in all its forms, always makes good reading and I know readers enjoy these stories.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 6:00 am
Mary Mathews and Peggy Edwards in their clippie uniforms.
Mary Mathews and Peggy Edwards in their clippie uniforms.

I received the following from Diana Shaw whose mother was a clippy on Portsmouth Corporation buses.

For those who don’t know, at one time you boarded a bus and bought your ticket from the conductor/conductress. The women were always known as clippies.

Peggy Edwards (née Jarlett), on the right in the photograph, and her friend Mary Mathews started work as clippies on the same day and were often mistaken for each other. Mary went on to become a bus driver.

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Peggy was just 5ft tall at the start of the war but by the end she was 5ft 2in. The extra two inches she attributed to the daily stretching to reach the bell and using the trolleybus pole.

She often told Diana stories of bomb craters having to be negotiated in the road, of watching Hitler’s delivery of small parachutes rain down, having to reverse the length of Rat Lane (now Norway Road) as the blackout made following the road difficult, and a bus destined for Copnor Road taking the wrong turning. She also told of more than one occasion when a driver would arrive back at the depot unaware that the clippie was missing having been thrown off the bus. Apparently, Copnor Bridge was a notorious spot for this. Diana doesn’t believe her mother ever became a casualty in this way though. Her regular driver was Fred Fox.