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British Industrial History

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Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co

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2017. Electrobus garage in Brighton, built in 1908-09 specially for the electrobuses and still survives today. It was made a listed building by Historic England in May 2015. (Image: Mick Hamer).

Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co[1]

12 September 1884 The Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co was formed through the amalgamation of several existing horse bus operators. The company had 30 buses (and 150 horses).[2]

1888 The company expanded its operations and began to run a five-minute service along Western Road, the main road linking the twin towns of Brighton and Hove.

24 December 1903 The company acquired its first motor bus, a Milnes Daimler. [3]

November 1907 As the number of motor buses increased so did the protests about motor bus noise. More than 500 ratepayers signed a petition to Hove Borough Council. Brighton received a similar petition complaining about the “dangerous speed, enormous weight, unbearable noise, unpleasant smells” of the company’s motor buses.[4]

Under increasing pressure from the local councils to cut motor bus noise the Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co bought four electrobuses from the Electric Vehicle Co in 1908 and 1909 and built a new garage and charging station to maintain its growing fleet. [5] The garage, in Montague Place, was capable of swapping an exhausted electrobus battery for a fresh one in 10 minutes. The company also bought four Hallford-Stevens petrol-electric hybrid buses, but these only lasted three year.[6]

After the London Electrobus Co went into liquidation in 1910, the Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co bought eight second-hand London electrobuses.[7]

In 1911 the company had a fleet of 25 petrol buses, 12 electrobuses and five hybrid buses.

30 April 1913 Because of the continuing complaints about motor bus noise Hove Borough Council asked the chief constable of Brighton to investigate and provide an independent view. The chief constable found that over the past three years there had been 150 complaints about petrol buses, 13 about hybrids and 12 about electrobuses.[8]

Thomas Tilling took over the Brighton, Hove and Preston United Co in 1916.[9]

The last electrobus stopped running in April 1917. Thomas Tilling, said that a lack of spares had forced them to stop running electrobuses. [10]

11 May 2015 The old electrobus garage and charging was made a listed building by Historic England. The building is now used as a motor repair workshop.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Mick Hamer, December 2017
  2. John Roberts, British Bus and Trolleybus Systems No. 4, Brighton Hove & District, Transport Publishing Company, 1984, p. 6.
  3. Roberts, p. 9.
  4. Brighton Borough Council, minutes of the watch committee, 6 December 1907.
  5. The Electrician, 25 June 1909, p. 421.
  6. Colin Morris, Southdown, vol. 1, Venture Publications, 1994, p. 16
  7. Mick Hamer, A Most Deliberate Swindle, RedDoor, 2017, p. 183.
  8. Hamer, pp. 195 and 282.
  9. http://history.buses.co.uk/history/cohistory/welcome.htm.
  10. Hamer, p. 197.