Glasgow-born trailblazer honoured with big new mural at London Euston

A mural celebrating a Glasgow-born lady who overcame prejudice within the Seventies to be one of many UK’s first feminine prepare drivers has been unveiled in London.

The art work, which has appeared at Euston Station, options trailblazer the late Karen Harrison, who turned a prepare driver in 1979 regardless of going through intense discrimination.

The 8 x 5 metre tribute to was commissioned by Avanti West Coast as a part of a brand new marketing campaign to encourage extra girls up and down the nation to drive trains.

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Ms Harrison, who was born in Glasgow however raised in Finchley, north London, initially utilized for a job at British Rail utilizing the identify Okay Harrison so as to cover her gender.

She turned totally certified inside two years, however was pressured to battle in opposition to fixed discrimination, with male colleagues refusing to work alongside her, making sexist and obscene feedback in her firm and defacing her locker.

Karen Harrison became a train driver in the late 1970s. Picture: Contributed.
Karen Harrison turned a prepare driver within the late Seventies. Image: Contributed.

As Karen handed away in 2011, her household gave Avanti West Coast their blessing to create the enormous mural, believing that she could be an advocate of the marketing campaign to get extra girls working within the rail business, which continues to be dominated by males.

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Within the 1997 BBC Documentary, ‘Folks’s Century’ Karen Harrison was quoted saying: “I used to be the primary lady to get a driver’s job, so it was fairly an uncommon factor.

“[At the time] it was open warfare, folks wouldn’t work with me, folks put notes up about me, my locker was defaced. Graphic pornography went up within the mess rooms, not simply the same old bosoms and bums however the form of stuff that gynaecologists should learn.

“I’ve by no means wished to be pushed out. I knew if I’d left the railway, I’d have let these folks win and what was taking place was mistaken and it wasn’t honest. It’s now put me able the place when it occurs to different girls, I now know learn how to assist them.”

The enormous art work for Karen Harrison was created by Manchester-based artist Akse.

The mural, which has been designed and painted by street artist, Akse-19, follows Avanti’s West Coast’s announcement that they are aiming for half of all recruits to be female by 2030. Photo credit should read: Matt Alexander/PA Wire.
The mural, which has been designed and painted by road artist, Akse-19, follows Avanti’s West Coast’s announcement that they’re aiming for half of all recruits to be feminine by 2030. Photograph credit score ought to learn: Matt Alexander/PA Wire.

Talking concerning the marketing campaign, Akse stated: “I’m extremely proud to be concerned in highlighting Karen’s achievements on the railway. This mural might be seen by 1000’s of passengers every day and I hope her picture continues to encourage, encourage, and educate the following era.”

Marie Harrison, sister of Karen Harrison stated: “My sister Karen was a trailblazer within the rail business, within the commerce union motion and past.

“She utilized her willpower and formidable intelligence to realize her targets and her household is enormously proud that this legacy continues to have an effect as we speak.”

In 2022, feminine candidates made up 18% of driver functions at Avanti West Coast, in comparison with 12.5% in 2020.


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