Dadds, Hannah

Date of Birth:
16 Oct 1941
Dadds, Hannah

Hannah Dadds was born Hannah Head in Forest Gate in Newham on 16 October 1941. Her father was in the furniture trade. Her mother was a home help, who visited new mothers or elderly people in their homes. Hannah had two sisters and a brother.

Hannah left school at 15 and her first job was as a shop assistant at the Co-Op. After 16 months there she left to start a job that paid better wages. She found work in the Bryant & May match factory, and stayed there for three years.

After leaving Bryant & May, Hannah worked in a number of short-terms jobs, and married Ken Dadds. Her next long-term job was at the Kensita cigarette factory, where she stayed for six-and-a-half years. She was made redundant at the end of that time but soon found work with London Underground.

Hannah was 27 years old when she started with London Underground in October 1969. She started off as a railwoman at Upton Park station on 13 and 8 shillings a week. Encouraged by the good wages, Hannah's sister also joined the Underground. After eight years working in the stations, Hannah applied for promotion to guard. She trained and passed the exams first time.

At the time, there were very few women working in these positions. They had traditionally been 'male' jobs, a discrimination that had ended with the Equal Opportunity Act of 1976. Most of Hannah's male colleagues were supportive, but she did encounter sexist attitudes in some L.U.L. staff. This did not deter her from applying for a position as train driver in 1978.

Hannah Dadds qualified in October 1978 as the Underground's first woman train driver. There was a lot of media interest. There was a possibility that she would be chosen to drive the Prince of Wales on the inaugural train on the Jubilee Line in 1979, however Dadds injured her foot and was off work for several weeks.

Hannah enjoyed her time with London Underground and got on well with her mainly male team. She socialised and played cards with them during breaks, and recalls picking wild blackberries near the station and baking pies for her workmates.

Hannah Dadds stayed with London Underground for 24 years until she took redundancy in 1993, after which retired to Spain with her husband.

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