Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,478 pages of information and 233,901 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

London General Omnibus Co

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search
Omnibus Chassis. 1906.
Top View, Omnibus Chassis. 1906.
1911. LGOC B-type. Reg No: LA 9928. Exhibit at the London Transport Museum
1911. LGOC B-type. Reg No: LA 9928. Exhibit at the London Transport Museum
July 1923.
1956. Advertising Grape Nuts.
1923. Advertising Lipton's Tea and Pears Soap.
July 1924.
August 1928.
Exhibit at Beamish Museum.
Exhibit at Beamish Museum.

The London General Omnibus Co or LGOC played a significant part in the history of transport of London. It was the principal bus operator in London between 1855 and 1933. It was also, for a short period between 1909 and 1912, a motor bus manufacturer. [1].

1855 The Compagnie Generale des Omnibus de Londres, an Anglo-French enterprise, was founded to amalgamate and regulate the many independent horse-drawn omnibus services then operating in London. [2]

1855 The company was established under French laws. [3]

1856 The company began operating horse bus services in London. By the end of that year it was the largest bus operator in the capital, owning 600 buses - 75% of the total. It bought out hundreds of independently-owned buses and established a consistent level of service for its fleet.

1859 The London General Omnibus Company was formed on 1 January to replace the Anglo-French company.

1902 LGOC began using motor omnibuses.

1908 The LGOC bought the Road Car Co, the Vanguard Co[4], and all its other main rivals, thereby gaining an almost total monopoly in London.

1909 LGOC began producing motor omnibuses for its own use, at works established in premises inherited from Vanguard at Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, London. The first model built was the LGOC X-type, which was designed by Frank Searle, LGOC's chief engineer. The X-type was followed by the LGOC B-type, from the same designer.

1911 The last LGOC horse-drawn bus ran on 25 October.

1912 The LGOC was estimated by a competitor to have 1000 motor buses in operation[5].

1912 The Underground Electric Railways Co, which at that time owned most of the London Underground, bought the LGOC. After this, the bus manufacturing elements of the LGOC were split out to create AEC, whilst the bus operating elements continued to use the name London General.

1918 Exhibited a bus chassis with a compressed gas fuel system.

1922 Sir Frederick Sykes was made director of the firm.[6]

1930 Formation of Green Line Coaches Ltd[7] to handle country services outside central London,

1933 The LGOC, along with the rest of the Underground Group, became part of the new London Passenger Transport Board. The name London General fell into disuse, and instead London Transport became synonymous with the red London bus.

1980s In the privatisation of London bus services in the 1980s, London Transport created a series of shadow bus operating companies with names of geographic or historic significance; one of these was christened London General in honour of the LGOC.

1996 The new London General was initially privatised by management buy-out, and acquired by the Go-Ahead Group in 1996.


1909 London General otherwise known as London General Omnibus Co started building its own buses.

The buses were built at Walthamstow overhaul works. They went on to employ 3,000 to 4,000 workers.

New chassis were produced at 30 per week. After a night shift was put into place production ran to 60 a week.

1912 the bus manufacturing elements of LGOC were split out to create AEC.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. London Transport Museum [2]
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. The Times, Mar 06, 1908
  5. The Times, Feb 13, 1912
  6. The Engineer 1922/04/14
  7. Key Dates in the History of London Transport, by Transport for London
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • [3] Wikipedia