A recent donation to the Dundee Museum of Transport reveals the life of the ‘Mr Transport’ of Dundee, near 52 year to the day that he retired from the industry.
Born in 1902, Charles Broadley’s early life revolved around transport. Before he had even left school, Charles worked part-time as a ‘parcel lad’, on Friday nights and Saturdays. After his school day, he would eagerly wait for the Blackie tram to turn onto Blackness Street, always offering to help reverse the trolleys. After Charles left school, he joined Dundee Corporation Transport, working as a full-time parcel lad. At the age of sixteen, he spent a brief three years in the Royal Air Force before returning to Dundee Corporation Transport.
Charles’ passion for transport never fizzled out during his many years at Dundee Corporation Transport. He worked diligently, gradually working his way through the ranks. Starting as a parcel lad, he then became a lorry driver; then a conductor; a tram driver; a bus driver; then received a semi-final promotion to an Inspector in 1928.
Throughout the years, he displayed amazing dedication. He remained with the transport industry, despite the move by many to factory work, with its more forgiving hours. He would often leave one of his favourite activities – attending football matches at Dens Park – to help buses cope with the massive crowds there. He would leave his home in Barnes Avenue in the wee hours of the night to respond to emergencies, such as sanding icy roads, or showing face at any crashes that may have occurred. In 1947, Charles received his final promotion to Traffic Superintendent. His dedication and loyalty to Dundee Corporation Transport during his forty-five years there earned him the title ‘Mr Transport’, lovingly given to him by Dundonians.
In 1966, after forty-five years service, Charles retired. However, his love for transport remained. He would continue to go on holiday to the likes of Switzerland and Austria – via the bus, of course. In 1978 Charles sadly passed away. However, his legacy lives on in Dundee and further afield through his prediction that, one day, in the future, there will be a “one-man bus”.
Charles Broadley’s ticket machine will go on display at Dundee Museum of Transport from February 2019 when the museum re-opens after the winter break. The museum would like to thank Iain Waddell for donating these items in memory of his late Grandfather.