Honouring the Bristol Bus Boycott

I had the incredible opportunity to design a special celebratory bus wrap honouring the 60th anniversary of the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott. 

Sparked by the refusal of the Bristol Omnibus Company to employ Black and Asian bus crews, the boycott was inspired by the peaceful actions of the US Civil Rights movement. Four young West Indian men – Roy Hackett, Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown – formed an action group to end this discrimination. With Paul Stephenson as their spokesperson they set up a test case to expose the Omnibus’ colour bar. 

They arranged a job interview for Guy Bailey, a young warehouse worker and Boys’ Brigade officer. When Bailey showed up at the interview he overheard the secretary commenting on the colour of his skin and he was told the position had been filled – he’d only been invited to the interview an hour earlier. 

On 29 April 1963 they announced their action – none of the city’s West Indian inhabitants would use the buses and that they had secured the support from white university students. Many men and women were working in the backgrounds, helping where they could – one of them was Barbara Dettering. After four months the Omnibus company agreed to end their colour bar policy. Soon after Raghbir Singh, Norman Samuels, Norris Edwards, Abbas Ali and Mohammed Raschid became the first Asian and Black bus drivers and conductors.

The boycott also led to the UK’s first Race Relations act in 1965.

My design visually narrates the main milestones of this inspiring story, starting with the Windrush generation arriving to the UK, showing the heroes at the frontline of the Bus Boycott, and lastly celebrating the first bus drivers and conductors who are depicted driving and waving from the bus. The vibrant illustrations heavily feature the colours of the Jamaican flag in honour of Guy Bailey. The bus will be driving around Bristol for one year with the hope to teach more people about this important chapter in British history.

In collaboration with First Bus, Curiosity UnLtd and Bristol Ideas.

What the press said: BBC // Epigram // Route One // B24/7 // Bristol Live // Coach&Bus Week