Maida Vale tube station celebrates its 100th birthday

Maida Vale tube station in 1915

Maida Vale tube station in 1915 - Credit: Archant

There is a celebration in Maida Vale as the tube station celebrates its 100th anniversary and its status as the first in the capital to be staffed entirely by women.

London Undergound History Poster as part of Maida Vale tube station's 100th anniversary

London Undergound History Poster as part of Maida Vale tube station's 100th anniversary - Credit: Archant

Transport for London (TFL) has put on a series of events to celebrate the opening of the tube station which opened its doors to the public on June 6, 1915 as part of the Bakerloo line extension from Paddington to Queens Park.

As part of the events, today and tomorrow, is an exhibition chronicling the history of women in transport, with staff volunteers on hand to speak with customers about the history of the station and the role of women in transport.

Maida Vale was the first underground station to have an all female workforce, in roles including ticket inspector and ticket clerk.

Britain was in the middle of the First World War with many of the 17,000 Underground, bus and tram workers away on military service.

Women were allowed to work in operational roles including guards, painters and depot cleaners, but not as train drivers which was still done by men.

The male work force returned in 1919 but with the onset of the Second World War, the women were once again drafted in, this time taking on virtually every role, including manual labour and heavy engineering.

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Today roles include civil engineering town planning and road traffic management.

Naomi Smith, performance manager (stations) on the Bakerloo Line, said: “I have worked in the transport industry for over 20 years now and in operational roles for the last 14 years. It is fantastic to see the changes over the years and I would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved in a career in transport to do so, it opened up so many possibilities for me.”

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground said: “Maida Vale station has played a key role in our history, opening in 1915 as well as being staffed entirely by women so that the Underground could continue to play a vital role in serving the Capital during the Great War.

“Today, our ambition is to extend the Bakerloo Line beyond Elephant & Castle towards Lewisham as part of the Mayor’s 2050 Infrastructure Plan to keep pace with growing demand.

“Women have a central role in our organisation which is why we need to encourage more women to consider careers in the industry to represent London’s population and meet the challenges facing the Capital.”

TfL has joined forces with Crossrail, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, the Women’s Transportation Seminar and Women’s Engineering Society as well as others in the transport industry to celebrate 100 Years of Women in Transport.

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