The Electrobus Garage

About half-way up Montague Place, between Bristol Road and Eastern Road, is a large single-storey building with a glazed roof, labelled Worthing Fruit and Flower Co Ltd.

This was built as a bus garage and re-charging station for the new battery-driven Electrobuses of the Brighton Hove and Preston United Omnibus Company, in about 1908. The BH&PUOC was a predecessor of both Thomas Tillings and Southdown, and sold out in 1915/16, partly because all its newest petrol buses had been commandeered by the War Office for troop transport.

Electrobuses were introduced on route 1 (Portslade Station to Kemp Town) to counteract complaints made in genteel Hove about the noisy petrol buses. Their batteries had to be recharged every few journeys, and rather than have them all come back to Conway Street Hove, a new garage was built in Kemp Town. The electrobuses lasted until about 1918.

One other interesting relic of those days is a bus shelter on Eastern Road, opposite Bristol Place, now a tobacconist’s and sweet shop!

Comments about this page

  • I believe that the building referred to was used in the early 70s for the indoor scenes of ‘Oh What A Lovely War!’. The outdoor scenes were shot at Sheepcote Valley near the race course, an old rubbish dump!

    By Phil Colls (14/03/2004)
  • What happened to all the old electrobuses? Are any available to purchase?

    By B.Sanders (23/09/2007)
  • If only a single Electrobus remained! While long-lived for buses of the day (they seemed to survive around ten years), the remaining Electrobuses were sold by Tillings in around 1918, and some became the basis for delivery vans for J Lyons & Co of Cadby Hall. No traces of what became of them are available – unless you know otherwise!

    By Martin Nimmo (07/02/2008)
  • Was the building mentioned in Montague Place once used by Belgravia Dairies as a Milk Depot and charging place for their milk floats?

    By A Southwell (28/10/2008)
  • I just wonder if anyone remembers a little greengrocer in Montague Place?  Also a little grocer shop next door – Miss Hall and her sister ran it. Also Pakley on the corner of College. I knew so many people. I went to All Souls School.

    By Rosemary Brazill (15/07/2009)
  • Thank you so much for your email. I love your site – it’s amazing. The shop on the corner of College Street was Oakley. It was a little hardware shop. The building mentioned in Montague Place by A Southwell was Belgravia Dairies – we got our milk from there every day.

    By R Brazill (16/07/2009)
  • Mrs Simmons (possibly Mrs E.B.Simmons), a hard of hearing lady of no. 22 Montague Place, Brighton, used to run Brighton Homely Board Residence in 1949 and that she reserved all the accommodations for deaf people during the summer season. Any information about herself or the residence would be greatly received.

    By Geoffrey Eagling (14/10/2010)
  • The greengrocers was run by Mr Roberts. The sweetshop on the corner by Miss Hall and Miss Addison.

    By Phil Colls (26/10/2010)
  • I lived at 14 Montague Place which was owned by Kemp Town Brewery. when the brewery was sold off to Charrington’s United Breweries in the 1960s. I moved round the corner to College Street. My Father worked for K.T.B. For 38 years his name was Reg Briggs I remember Mr Roberts the greengrocer and Miss Hall who owned the corner shop, good times

    By Paul Briggs (29/12/2013)
  • I’m new to this fascinating site but discovered it whilst researching by own leased property at No.26 Montague Place – it’s right next to the ‘garage’ building you’re discussing – what amazing stories! Sadly, I’ve heard that the council have instructed their ‘planning’ dept to demolish & redevelop the site – including the old ‘electro bus garage’. It’s not in my nature to give in so I’m going to fight it with all I have – how many more of Brighton’s historic buildings can we let go? If anyone can help with memories about the old dairy yard & the garage, then that would be wonderful – we must keep these buildings & stories alive!

    By Tim Harbridge (22/04/2014)
  • I don’t know of any electrobuses but the last Brighton tram is still with us. Try looking at The Tram 53 Society website or facebook page. New members are always welcome.

    By Sheila Sharmn (14/02/2015)
  • An interesting piece, Martin, and particularly the last sentence about the bus shelter (opposite Church Place?), which I believe is now ‘the kiosk’. I had wondered if this was an old tram shelter. Are there any old photos of it, I wonder? Regards, Alan.

    By Alan Hobden (15/02/2015)
  • I`m sure ‘the Kiosk’ can’t be an old purpose built tram shelter, the erstwhile “Brighton Tram System” never reached that far out of town. Maybe it was moved there from another location after the trams were withdrawn in 1939 although it looks to me as though it has always been a permanent structure?  

    By Chris Wrapson (15/02/2015)

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