Plymouth Citybus and Theresa May help Nancy Astor return to the city

Plymouth Citybus has introduced a unique commemorative bus dedicated to Nancy Astor, the first female MP, as a statue of her is unveiled.

To mark the occasion, and celebrate the city’s future generation, Plymouth Citybus offered free travel all day across Plymouth for children in school uniform – with 2,200 taking advantage of this great offer.

Nearly a century after becoming the first woman to take her seat in the Houses of Parliament, the UK's first female MP has had a statue unveiled in her honour, in the city she happily called home for some 45 years.

The new Nancy Astor bus, revealed by Plymouth Citybus on the same day, collected VIP guests including former Prime Minister Theresa May, from the train station. 

Wrapped in wonderful visuals in honour of Nancy herself, the unique bus transported people to 3 Elliot Terrace, which was built in the late 19th century possibly by George Wightwick, and was bought in 1908 by Waldorf Astor, who was Mayor of Plymouth between 1939 and 1944.

Lady Astor served the city as MP for Plymouth Sutton from 1919 to 1945, and passed away on 2 May, 1964.

Her bronze statue that now sits on Plymouth Hoe, was created by sculptor Hayley Gibbs and was unveiled on Thursday 28th November – a day that coincides with the launch of the Mayflower 400 commemorative year and Thanksgiving Day in America.

The bus will now travel across the Plymouth Citybus network as a reminder of her achievements and the role she played in the city’s history.

Richard Stevens, Managing Director of Citybus, said: “We’re honoured to be able to play our part in such an historic occasion right here in Plymouth. Our city has had 96 years of female representation in Parliament since Nancy took her seat a century ago, which is truly amazing.

"Her extraordinary achievement paved the way for fellow female Plymouth MPs Lucy Middleton (Plymouth Sutton, 1945-51), Joan Vickers (Plymouth Devonport, 1955-74), Janet Fookes (Merton and Morden and Plymouth Drake, 1970-97), Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton, 1997-2010) and Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Devonport and Plymouth Moor View, 2005-15) to follow in her courageous footsteps."

The idea for the statue appeal came from the team behind Plymouth Women in Business Networking – led by Alexis Bowater.

A special Crowdfunder appeal reached its target in less than three months – and that tally is still growing by the day, with every extra penny from the page going towards the statue’s long-term maintenance costs.