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British Industrial History

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Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co

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February 1922. 51-seat bus operated by the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co.
1948. Reg No: KHA 301.
1948. Reg No: KHA 301.
1964. C.M.6T.

Midland Red was the fleet and trading name used by the Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company (BMMO).


1904 The company was formed for bus operating activities, which served the English Midlands from 1905.

c.1905 Public company incorporated

From its inception, the company operated a few motor buses until these were determined to be unsuitable. Despite the company's name, horse traction was solely used until 1912, when the first Tilling-Stevens petrol-electric vehicles were purchased. Tilling-Stevens became the main supplier of bus chassis to the company which, under its Chief Engineer L. G. Wyndham Shire, adapted and developed the designs to its own requirements, finally designing a vehicle it intended to construct itself.

Between 1923 and 1969, BMMO built most of the buses it operated; up to 1940 these were called 'SOS', and some models were supplied to other bus companies associated with the company.

By 1925 the whole chassis was of the Midland Red design.

1926 the company moved to forward-control models.

1928 the QL was designed with four-wheel brakes and twin rear wheels.

1929 the M for Madam type was a lot more comfortable with fewer seats (34), the design being created in the hope that ladies would use the bus for shopping needs.

of Birmingham, operator long-distance motor coach services

1930 With Bristol Tramways and Carriage Co acquired Black and White Motorways of Cheltenham

1933 the FEDD (Front-entrance double-deckers) came into production.

1934 Four different designs were produced with a six-cylinder engine.

1937 SLRs (Saloon Low Rolls-Royce) produced forward-control vehicles, built with concealed radiators and petrol engines.

1939 the first diesel coaches were introduced - the ONCs. They had full-fronted concealed radiator bodies by Duple and had five-speed gearboxes.

By 1940 Midland Red had built over 2,000 chassis. Around 1,000 were sold to associated companies including Ortona Motor Co and Peterborough Electric Traction.

After 1940, they were identified by the company's initials, BMMO, and used solely within the company.

1942 Metro Cammell models were converted to diesel.

1945 An elegant postwar prototype was introduced, having four-bay bodywork, sliding window vents, radius windows and with a full-width bonnet concealing a radiator.

1969 Midland Red became part of the National Bus Company (NBC), and the livery was later changed from a deep red to the NBC corporate poppy red.

List of Models

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris