Along with the employment
application form was another form to apply
for a conductor's licence. This required
two referees, fifteen shillings for the
licence and two shillings and sixpence deposit
for the numbered badge which I would have
to wear while on duty. There was also a
medical to take but this was paid for by
I think getting to the
medical was a test to see if I scared easily.
The depot superintendent drove me to the
doctor's in his company car and tried his
best to frighten me. It worked. As we pulled
out at Bitterne Park Triangle, I opened
my eyes to find we were still in one piece
but my future boss looked as though his
eyes were still shut.
The medical itself was
straightforward enough with the usual checks
for arms, legs and blood pressure and of
course the mandatory sample. But the doctor
also suggested I have my toes broken and
reset to straighten them, the damage having
been caused by not getting new shoes often
enough while I was growing. I felt I had
suffered enough for one day and decided
to leave them as they were.
next stop was to collect my first uniform.
This consisted of heavy black serge jacket
with white cuffs and gold piping, trousers
of the same material, a long equally heavy
raincoat, a hat with conductor's badge and
two lapel badges. The whole uniform was one
size too big and very uncomfortable to work
in, particularly in warm weather.
the summer we were issued with light jackets
but the trousers would turn your legs black
as you sweated. The hat was to be worn at
all times except when collecting fares. I
have never liked wearing anything on my head
and this hat, padded with newspaper to make
it fit, would be donated to Guy Fawkes as
soon as the rule was abolished.
all the formalities completed that Friday,
I was told to report at nine o'clock the following
Monday morning. What I had let myself in for
I had no idea and I would have to wait through
the weekend to find out. In fact it would
take sixteen years!