Names on the buses

619 Margaret Bondfield

850 Margaret Bondfield

Connections with Brighton and Hove : Born in Somerset in 1873, Margaret Bondfield was the 11th child in her family. Her father William, 61 at the time, was a textile worker well known for his radical political beliefs. The young Margaret became apprenticed at the age of 14 to serve an apprenticeship at a draper’s store in Western Road, Brighton. She became friendly with one of her customers, Louise Martindale, a strong advocate of women’s rights. Margaret was a regular visitor to the Martindale home where she met other radicals living in Brighton, Louisa lent her books and was a strong influence on here political development. Margaret went to London and became a member of the shop assistants union. She created a storm in 1898 by describing the ideal married couple as one in which both went out to work and shared the household tasks at home. She became a leading expert on shop workers and in 1908 became secretary of the Women’s Labour League. She persuaded the Liberal Government in 1910 to include maternity benefits in its Health Insurance bill. She campaigned for full voting rights for women and opposed the First World War, wanting a negotiated peace with Germany. In 1923 she became one of the first women MPs and she joined the Government the following year. In Ramsay Macdonald’s second Government in 1929, she became Minister of Labour and was the first woman to gain a place in the British Cabinet. But she lost her seat in the 1931 election. Labour never forgave her for supporting MacDonald’s National Government and she could not return to the House of Commons for Labour. She continued to be interested in women’s issues and died in 1953.

619 Scania Omnidekka carried name since delivery in February 2004, on METRO Line 1. Metro 1 branding removed January 2012. Name spelt wrong when reapplied as Mararet Bondfield, corrected March 2012. Bus sold May 2015. Name reappeared on 850 Mercedes Streetdeck in December 2017.

Ramsay Macdonald