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British Industrial History

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British Automobile Traction Co

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British Autombile Traction Company

operator of omnibus services

1905 Company registered as British Automobile Development Co; founded by British Electric Traction Co.

1907 Began operation of bus services

1912 Name changed to British Automobile Traction Co.

1924 British Electric Traction Co and Thomas Tilling owned 70% of the shares in British Automobile Traction Co[1].

1924 Held substantial interests in 15 Associated Companies which owned 1250 buses and operated 5000 miles of routes. In London, buses were operated under agreement with the London General Omnibus Company. Thomas Tilling had interests in many of the associated companies and was represented on their boards. The company also had interest in Ford Ltd, haulage contractors in London. Issue of shares to fund further development of the business; underwritten by British Electric Traction Co and Thomas Tilling[2].

1928 Increase in capital of the company to allow it to acquire the interests in omnibus undertaking of British Electric Traction Co and Thomas Tilling; company name changed to Tilling and British Automobile Traction Co[3]. Now had interests in 25 undertakings, the largest bus fleet in the world.

1929 Agreement with the main-line railway companies to coordinate activities; the railway companies would take a share in an enlarged Tilling and British Automobile Traction Co.

1933 London omnibus interests transferred to the London Passenger Transport Board; claim made for compensation[4].

1942 The shareholders agreed to split the company into 2, owned by the major shareholders. These would be named B.E.T. Omnibus Services Ltd (to be owned by British Electric Traction Co) and Tilling Motor Services Ltd (to be owned by Thomas Tilling). Tilling and British Automobile Traction Co would then be liquidated[5].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 7 July 1924
  2. The Times, 7 July 1924
  3. The Times, 27 March 1928
  4. The Times, 7 February 1934
  5. The Times, 20 June 1942