The Fife pensioner who made history as Dundee’s first female bus driver claimed she was “always a rebel” as she relived her past glory at the age of 70.
Elizabeth Brindley made headlines in 1971 when she became Dundee Corporation’s first woman bus driver at the age of 26 despite still only having a provisional licence to drive a car.
However, she lost all records of her achievement shortly afterwards and has only just been reunited with her past following a Courier archives search.
Now remarried, Elizabeth Marnock known by her middle name Anne, said: “Looking back I can remember quite a lot but I lost the articles a long time ago.”
She had been a conductress on the buses for 18 months before she decided to get behind the wheel instead, which was a controversial move at the time.
Just a few years previously in 1968 Dundee’s bus crews came together to hold a meeting after complaints about the prospect of a woman driving the bus from the male drivers and another woman was prevented from taking the job.
So when Elizabeth stepped into a ‘man’s role’, one article at the time described her as “small, neat and determined to drive a double decker ‘just as well as any man’.”
Elizabeth said: “I went through hell but you had to just deal with it. One time just after I started I was on the St Mary’s run and another woman got on the bus and said, ‘That’s not a woman driving the bus?’
“I had to take a lot of stick at first but I just laughed it off and got on with the job. I did get queer looks from a lot of people.
“I wanted to prove I could do something different. I was a rebel. If someone dared me to do anything I’d do it.
“It was hard work but I enjoyed it both the company and meeting lots of different people.”
Elizabeth also attracted attention for passing her bus driver’s test while still holding just a provisional car licence. However, she didn’t find the situation strange, arguing she found buses easier to drive.
Once people overcame the shock of a woman driving the bus, Elizabeth developed a good relationship with her passengers, and some even gave her sweets and cakes as she drove them about the city.
She said: “Once you got to know the passengers, people used to give all sorts of things to the drivers.
“The 10pm special went through all the schemes and I can remember one man I picked up in Douglas and took him to meet his friends in a pub in Broughty Ferry.
“Then at night time I picked him up and took him back home and he always had a half bottle of whisky and four beers for me for taking him home.”
In 1973 Elizabeth made history again when she became Dundee Corporation Transport Department’s first woman to drive a one-man bus.
Elizabeth now lives in Methil with her second husband David, and it was her granddaughter, Stacey Thomson, who contacted The Courier in search of her gran’s forgotten stories.