A transport mystery solved
Magnus Volk’s public transport
During a recent discussion on the My Brighton and Hove Yahoo group, it was revealed that Magnus Volk, not only introduced the Volk’s Railway and Daddy Longlegs to Brighton, he also had a personal shot at public transport. He inaugurated a bus service based on two four cylinder 30hp vehicles built in 1917 called Guy Runabouts. We found two photos showing these early local buses (registration numbers CD 9455 & CD 9456) in their hey-day taking passengers on a local scenic journey which cost just 5 old pence. The journey was from Black Rock, up what is now known as Wilsons Avenue, and terminated at the Downs Hotel in the rural hinterland of a then largely under developed Woodingdean
The service, which ran from 1926 -1927, proved to be uneconomical and the buses were put into retirement and subsequently sold off, only to re-emerge in later years as two elements of a mobile café. By then one had undergone substantial modifications, having an upper deck and awnings added, but it can still be clearly identified in the third photo by its registration number. Although the registration of another former bus partially seen in line with the double decked café is not visible, its general shape and numerous other structural similarities suggests that when the picture was taken both Guy Runabouts were still together, with the other having far fewer external alterations
A mobile café in Portslade
According to the Regency Society’s text that accompanied the first James Gray image, one of these buses continued to function as a mobile café, eventually occupying a site outside Portslade station in the early 1950s. Records show that it was then removed to Guy Motors for renovation, but disappeared after Guys was taken over.