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112/114 Hills Road, The Ortona Motor Company (44)

History of 112 Hills Road


James Long, 60, painter and publican, b Essex

Mary, 55, b Essex

Ellen, 19, bar maid, daughter, b Cambridge

George, 12, grandson, railway clerk, b Cambridge

Eliza, 10, b Cambridge

North Flegg, lodger, 29, carpenter, b Norfolk


William Ransom, 27, publican, b Cambs

Eliza Ann, 29, b Essex

William E, 2, b Essex

Robert H, 8, b Cambridge

Harry Brayley, lodger, 47, b Essex, engineer

John Vann, lodger, 50, b Northants, labourer

Catherine Vann, wife, 28, b Lancs

John Vann, son, 14, b Warwicks, labourer

William Vann, son, 1m, b Cambridge

J Carswell, boarder, 29, clerk

Martha Breed, 48, Hunts, servant



Telegraph Stores & Office


Charles F Furbank, 77, schoolmaster, b Cambridge

Mary, 76, b Cambs

Eleanor, 31

William Barton, 28, boarder, grocer’s clerk, b Norfolk

Jessie Barton, 19, boarder, teacher, b Bourn


( 114 Hills Road)

Eleanor Stanley Furbank, 45, headmistress private school, born London

Lizzie Bird, boarder, 52, private means, b Norfolk

Lucy Free, servant, 18, b Cambs

Ortona bus circa 1910 on route from Chesterton to Station

Cambridge Up To Date cartoon by F K

Ortona bus


The Ortona Motor Company Ltd

John Berry Walford, manager

For more information about the Ortona Motor Company visit

Also see Trams


CDN 30.5.1916


Mrs E Maskell and Mrs M palmer, Ortona conductorettes while their husbands served in France in WWI

Cambridge Independent Press 2.5.1919: WOMEN’S WAR WORK. Cambridge Motor ’Bus Conductors. Only two women row remain of the fourteen employed as conductors by the Ortona Motor Omnibus at the period of the war when men were scarcest. Towards the end of last year tho men who had left to join the Army gradually returned and the women who had kept the places open punched their last ticket and made their bow. The work was not easy, and the hours were long, yet Cambridge will member the courtesy of these “conductorettes,” as they were popularly called, and agree with Mr. J. B. Walford, the manager of the company, when he remarked, “Everything has gone very smoothly; they have worked well.”

At first women were doubtful as their ability to undertake duties partnering the ’bus drivers, and showed diffidence in offering themselves for this form of war work. One of them, recollecting her experiences, said: “I heard that women conductors were wanted when I was making some inquiries at the Labour Exchange, and I was told to go and see the manager of the Ortona Company. I walked up Hills-road, but when I came to the office I couldn’t pluck up courage to in and I went back home.” But this applicant conquered her faint-heartedness the next day, signed on and became of the most efficient of the company’s servants.

Men were becoming so few at one time that the idea of engaging women drivers for vehicles was seriously considered, and undoubtedly women would have been at the wheel of more than one ‘bus had the signing of the Armistice been a  little longer delayed. The women were employed on the Borough services only, as on the country routes the handling of heavy parcels is involved. Each omnibus had two women who worked the 14-hour day in two shifts; the first arriving on duty at 8 a.m. with a relief due at 3 pm. The men drivers and their fair assistants came to know and appreciate each other; to borrow the phrase of one driver consulted on the point, they ‘have got along famously.’  Nearly all these women, who all live in Cambridge, are the wives of soldiers who have served abroad, and more than one husband has fallen while his wife was carrying on in the public service at home.  Cambridge will remember with gratitude, in thinking of its women war workers, the “bus-conductorettes.”

OUR PHOTO. Our photo is of two of the women conductors employed by the Ortona Motor ‘Bus Company, Mrs. K. Maskell of 112 Argyle-Street, and Mrs. M. Palmer of 7a York-terrace. The husbands of both have been serving in France while they have been helping to carry on at home.

Eastern Counties Bus Depot, Hills Road (undated)



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