Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Walter Alexander and Co (Coachbuilders)

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October 1958.
September 1968.

of Falkirk, Coachbuilder

of Drip Road, Stirling (1958)

1902 Walter Alexander opened a cycle shop in Falkirk.

1913 Alexander bought his first bus – an open charabanc – and set up regular local bus services, as well as running excursions and tours - Alexander's Motor Services

1924 To satisfy demand for their rapidly growing bus services, Alexander began to build its own buses at its workshops in Falkirk.

1929 Bought by the Scottish Motor Traction Co; the bulk of the production was for the Scottish Motor Traction group.

WWII Alexander tasked with meeting demand for higher capacity buses

1942 the company built its first double decker buses, using a wartime utility design.

With the end of hostilities, the company quickly return to its established lines.

1948 Alexander’s bus services were nationalised; the manufacturing interest remained in private hands.

Attracted new customers and a boom in orders in the second half of the 1950s led moving to a new, state-of-the-art factory on Glasgow Road, Falkirk

By 1954 also had a small factory in Stirling (see advert)

1961 Alexander built the first of a new single deck coach, the Y-type, a highly adaptable design. It became the standard vehicle for the Scottish Bus Group as well as used by many operators south of the border.

1969 Opened a factory in Belfast - see Alexander (Belfast)

1972 Introduced the AL-type double decker bus, using aluminium for the body structure.

During the 1970s Alexanders experimented with a fully-integral vehicle, an S-Series midibus seating 27 passengers.

1975 Eight 23-seater buses were made for West Midlands PTE.

1990 Bought by Spotlaunch

1992 Management buy-out.

1995 Mayflower Corporation acquired Alexanders

2000 Mayflower and Henlys combined their UK bus and coach manufacturing interests in TransBus International. Faced with overcapacity and duplicate products, the new company consolidates some of its operations, but manages to retain its major production centres, albeit at a reduced scale.

2004 Mayflower collapsed due to heavy debts; TransBus International was put into administration. A consortium of Scottish investors rescues the Guildford, Falkirk and Larbert operations under the new combined name Alexander Dennis. In place of the Plaxton factory in Wigan, a new aftermarket headquarter and parts warehouse was established in neighbouring Skelmersdale. The Plaxton activities at Scarborough and Anston were the subject of a management buy-out.

2007 Alexander Dennis acquired the Plaxton activities to create the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer.

The Glasgow Road factory is still in use.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • History of Alexander Dennis [1]
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris