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Brighton's Electric Buses

Built in 1909 for the Brighton, Hove & Preston United Omnibus Co Ltd as a re-charging station and depot for its pioneering fleet of BATTERY-ELECTRIC BUSES

East Sussex
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25 Montague Place,



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About Brighton's Electric Buses

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.
Although the buses struggled to get up Brighton's hills, they were popular and lasted until 1916 when the company was acquired by Thomas Tilling and the electric buses were taken out of service, in favour of petrol-driven motorbuses and (from 1939) trolleybuses.
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.

With thanks to David Fisher and his Brighton History website.

Red Wheel plaque erected late November 2022 - formal unveilimg to be arranged.

Georgano, N, Electric Vehicles, (1996) 'The New Battery Charging Station at the Montague-Street Garage of the Brighton, Hove and Preston United Omnibus Co.' in The Electrical Journal, (25 June 1909), 421-423 


National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR