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On the Buses: Memories of Irish people working for London transport

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Tom Scanlon, Declan Finnegan and Patrick Ryan will share reflections about life working on the buses.

On the Buses: Memories of Irish people working for London transport

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Irish in Britain invites you to us for a Thoughtful Thursday session with Tom Scanlon, Declan Finnegan and Patrick Ryan.

Tom, Declan and Paddy will share reflections and stories about life working on the buses as conductors, drivers, inspectors, managers, directors and trade union activists.

What was life like on the buses for Irish immigrant workers back in the 1960s and early 1970s? How were people recruited? What was the pay like? What camaraderie existed between Irish workers and people from other cultural groups? Was London Transport really like a family?

Join us to find out and ask your own questions!

About the speakers

Tom Scanlon was born in County Clare and worked in Ennis and Dublin before arriving in London in 1966 where he encountered "No dogs No Blacks No Irish" signs as he sought accommodation. He joined London Transport as a conductor in 1967, and was allocated to North Finchley Garage. Following the introduction of one person operated buses, he trained as a driver. Tom became involved in union work and became trustee of London Transport Pension Fund. Tom became a full time trade union official in 1994, working on behalf of bus workers until retirement in 2007.

Declan Finnegan joined London Transport in 1972 as a bus conductor at Willesden and was promoted to Inspector in 1979, working in various junior and senior management grades. He was eventually appointed as Service Delivery Director at Metroline, the position he held when he retired from full work in 2016.

Patrick (Paddy) Ryan was 18 when he came to London from Country Limerick in 1961, joining British Railways (St Pancras Station) as a parcels clerk and then London Transport as a Conductor. Paddy worked as a conductor and a driver at Wood Green garage until 1981. He became Captain of Wood Green Garage Football and Captain of Lea Rowing Section and was selected to represent London Transport and London Buses in Rowing and Bowls.

All our Thoughtful Thursday sessions are free of charge and open to all - please spread the word!

This session may be of interest to all keen to gain a better understanding of the experiences of bus and transport workers. It will be especially useful for family, friends, volunteers and staff caring for our community members living with dementia, to gain insight into the past so as to support conversations and reminiscence activities.

To facilitate everyone's comfort, you can join this session with a cup of tea without being visible or heard. We welcome your questions and thoughts. You will be able to type questions in the session, or you are also welcome to email questions ahead of time to

When you have registered will will send you the zoom link in advance of the session.