Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,480 pages of information and 245,913 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co

From Graces Guide
(Redirected from Midland Red Co)
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.

of Winchester House, Colmore Row, Birmingham.

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


1904 The company was formed to adopt an agreement with the Birmingham Motor Express Company (Limited). First directors: W. J. Taylor, J. Jordan, C.C., T. Ottey, W. Roberts, and E. A. Olivieri. The objective concerned bus operating activities in the Midlands.

1905 The Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company (which included the Birmingham Motor Express Co.) was purchased as a going concern by the City of Birmingham Tramway Co., Ltd., the stock taken over comprising some 20 motor buses. A new company was formed to work the whole of the bus services of Birmingham and its district. There will be no public issue, and the company will be controlled by the British Electric Traction Co., Ltd., which already controls many electric tramways.[1]

1907 From its inception, the company operated a few motor buses until these were determined to be unsuitable due to opposition in the Hagley Road, and in the Edgbaston and Harborne areas (which also opposed electric traction in those districts). Partial reversion to horse-drawn omnibuses, despite the company's name, continued 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.

1921 The company was working a number of services for the Worcestershire Motor Transport Co. Ltd.; and for the North Warwickshire Motor Omnibus and Traction Co., Ltd. of which company the BMMO had acquired the whole of the issued share capital[2].

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.

1974 Name changed to Midland Red Omnibus Co

1981 Midland Red was split up into a number of operating companies - Midland Red East, Midland Red (South), Midland Red (West), Midland Red (North), Midland Red (Express).

1986 NBC was privatised

1986 Midland Red West (of Worcester) and Midland Red Coaches (of Birmingham) company, which took over the private hire, excursion and National Express work from the old Midland Red company, were acquired by the same management team. The two new companies operated 382 buses and coaches, including 104 minibuses, and had 875 staff at six depots.[3]

1988 Midland Red Omnibus Co was wound up.

List of Models

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Commercial Motor 22 June 1905
  2. Commercial Motor 15th February 1921
  3. Commercial Motor 10 January 1987
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris