Southdown grows by acquisition

Southdown 410, a convertible open-topper, passes Cedars Gardens on London Road on a summer Sunday bound for Devil's Dyke
From the private collection of Martin Nimmo

This is a list of bus operators in the Brighton and Hove area that were 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)

There is a lot more detail of possible interest to local historians, including references to leases on land and property, on the National Archives website at

Comments about this page

  • The sight of the open topper brought back a few memories. I left school at Easter 1951 and started work at the Portslade Works in Victoria Road. My Dad was already working for the company at Pool Valley, my cousin Vernon was in the machine shop at Portslade and his sister Jeane was in the office there. I was put in Bill Ward’s gang in the body shop which in those days was just inside the big doors by the time keepers’ office. Later when the works were extended we moved further back up towards the paint shop at the back. Anyway, getting back to the open toppers. A series of double deckers were just about worn out and it was decided that new bodies would be built on to make then open deckers. We stripped them down to upstairs floor level, put in new platforms and stairs, built up the sides with new pillers, new side panels put on and lo and behold there they were. It was during this period that the old style charabanc came to the end of their style life and the cockpit style of cab for the driver was replaced with the straight fronted style where the driver sat in with the passengers. I recall each gang in the body shop consisted of about six with four men and two boys learning the trade. There were about six such gangs and my gang led by bid Bill Ward and Jim Brown thought we were the best in the works. There were lots of departments such as the blacksmiths, the panel beaters, paints shop, the upholsterers gang who made super all leather drill wallets as well as the seats. There was a chassis shop, engine shop and machine shop. There was also a huge store that was like an Alladins cave to us young chaps when we first started and we were the butt of all the usual jokes played like sending us down for sky hooks and the like. There was also another coach builders nearby on the Old Shoreham Road in Hove where PC World is now and several of my old school mates went there. It was called Harringtons and at one time I recall they were building special bodies onto car chassis. They may have been a Sunbeam Talbots but I am not sure. Another source of work was at the Lancing Carriage Works which was a huge site just south of the main west railway line between Shoreham and Lancing and a number of local boys started work there. All three of these industries have now gone to be replaced with car showrooms , IT centres and the like.

    By David Smart (13/05/2009)
  • David, you missed out Southdown’s acquisition on 1st January 1969 of Brighton Hove & District Omnibus Company Ltd. This was the result of both companies becoming part of the National Bus Company under the 1968 Transport Act. From that date all BH&D buses recieved Southdown legal lettering and were numbered into Southdown’s fleet number system, although they retained their red and cream (or plain cream for open-toppers) colours for a few more years.

    By John Wilkin (15/05/2009)

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