Within the archives of the London College of Music (LCM), there exists a file of papers and photos dedicated to Miss Mona Blackman. These include LCM certificates for Pianoforte playing, notices of examinations, compulsory diploma papers, diploma examination result slips, photos of Miss Blackman and articles relating to Mona’s long service working on the buses as a ‘clippie’ (female conductor or ticket taker on a bus).
Mona Grace Perrin Blackman was said to have travelled some 750,000 miles in her career running one of the strictest buses in the South East. With a keen love of buses Miss Blackman joined a private bus company, Southdown, in Sussex in 1942 at age 21. But a few years’ later men returning from war service wanted their jobs back, while the women had been employed on a temporary basis. Miss Blackman applied to four different bus companies but only London Transport were interested in employing conductoresses so she moved to WATFORD.
Miss Blackman was the last of the clippies at London Country’s Garston bus garage. In 1979 London Country changed to one man buses and Miss Blackman was moved ‘inside’ onto administrative duties. On retiring and in celebration of her long service Miss Blackman took an old fashioned route master double decker from Hemel Hempstead to London and back, surprising many passengers along the way. Mona enjoyed her job and was recognised for her achievements, in 1970 receiving the Road Operator’s Safety Council Diploma for “Freedom from Accidents of a blameworthy Character whilst serving as Conductor of a Passenger Road Vehicle”.
In the 1940s and 50s, Mona sat many examinations in Pianoforte playing for LCM as well as Trinity College of Music London, receiving certificates of merit for her talents. Mona also taught Piano to diploma standard at LCM and continued to do so after retirement from the buses.
Following retirement Mona continued to enjoy her love of music and ‘growing dahlia’s’. The Mona Blackman bursary was established in her memory and is kindly supported by the Estate of Mona Blackman. The Bursary is awarded to an outstanding classical music student at the London College of Music.