A play written by Neil Gore based on a poem by Abe Gibson 

 ‘Farewell Leicester Square’ tells the story of Bedford’s own Joe Clough, Britain’s first black bus driver.

Directed by Louise Townsend with original artwork by Scarlett Rickard  and new music by Tayo Akinbode

When hundreds of people travelled from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad to drive London’s buses in the fifties and sixties, little did they realise they were following in the footsteps of London’s first black bus driver, Joe Clough!

Joe was a driver. First, a horse and carriage driver in Jamaica, before moving to Britain with his employer; learning to drive new motorcars. Passing his omnibus driving test, he drove his B-type motorised bus on the number 11 route through the heart of London from 1910 to 1914. He drove ambulances on the Western Front during the First World War, before making his home in Bedford, buying his own taxi, which he drove until his retirement in the 1960s.

Joe Clough was a trailblazer. Still fondly remembered in Bedford, he was always determined to confront any barriers placed in his way that attempted to diminish his ambitions or belittle him and the world in which he lived.

Portrayed by Phillip Olagoke in this one-man show, Farewell Leicester Square is his story.




  • This is a joyous journey of a working-class immigrant...a trailblazer for those who were to follow... a truly delightful show.'
    Peter Yates
    Read the full review

Farewell Leicester Square

 He is remembered with great affection in Bedford to this day, as a modest, kind and gentle man.

 However modest his achievements may appear to be, Joe Clough was a trailblazer. His contribution is a testament to his determination to confront those that aimed to deny equality and opportunity for black people; it signalled a quiet resolve to confront any obstacles placed in his way that tried to diminish him, his ambitions and the world in which he lived.