Buses history


Bus services

Electric buses in service in Brighton & Hove 1909-1917

The London Electrobus Company was formed in 1906 to produce battery-powered buses as an alternative to tracked trams and petrol-engine vehicles. Brighton had introduced trams in 1901 but Hove resisted. Residents of both Brighton and Hove had petitioned against the noisy and noxious motor buses in late 1907. So the Brighton, Hove & Preston United Omnibus Company (BH&PUOC) was attracted to the cleaner and quieter Electrobus.
      The first of four buses ordered from the London Electrobus Company was driven into Brighton from London on Easter Sunday, 14 April 1908. A garage/charging station in Montague Place was designed by Clayton & Black, for which a planning application was made on 29 October 19081. The service began in June 1909 and ran between Kemp Town and Portslade—Hove had no problem with electric buses, even if working-class trams were deemed not Hove-style. Batteries were recharged at Montague Place at lunchtime and overnight.
      Brighton & Hove was the only place outside London to adopt the Electrobus, so the manufacturer went out of business in 1910. BH&PUOC bought eight more second-hand buses and managed to keep the fleet of 12 running until April 1917, a few months after the bus operator was taken over by Thomas Tilling.
      Electric buses returned to the city courtesy of Brighton & Hove Buses 102 years later in October 2019, covering a similar route to their predecessors on route 5, extending from Whitehawk to Mile Oak.

Electrobus charging station and garageThe Montague Place garage [right] is now Grade II listed2.
Image source: Google Earth



1ESRO DB/D/7/6364a, including Clayton & Black section and elevation [far right]
2HE 1423929

Electrobus charging station and garage
Image source: ESRO

Bus operators in the Brighton and Hove taken over by Southdown Motor Services

1921  White Heather Motor Services, Brighton
1927  Golden Butterfly Motor Coaches, Brighton
1927  Lucille Motor Coaches, Hove
1927  Pullman Services, Brighton
1930  John Poole, Hove
1930  Potts, Brighton
1932  Chapman & Sons (Eastbourne) Ltd
1932  G H Meaby, Brighton
1933  East Grinstead Motor Coaches (East Grinstead–Lewes–Brighton service)

1934  B.R. Roberts, Brighton
1936  H Miller (Southwick & Shoreham)
1937  H K Hart (Brighton/Hove–Hellingly Hospital Service)
1937  H L Pownall, Brighton
1937  East Grinstead Motor Coaches (East Grinstead–Lewes–Brighton service)
1938  L Cherriman (Hassocks–Hurstpierpoint service)
1939  Messrs Bannister & Evans, Ditchling/Hassocks
1939  C R Shorter (Hove–Robertsbridge service, & excursions)

Banner image: Regency Society James Gray collection
Page created 20 September 2021