Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,128 pages of information and 245,598 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.

Thomas Tilling

From Graces Guide
1910. Mather and Crowther Advertising Space on Tilling Buses
May 1913.

of Winchester House, Peckham, London

1847 Company founded by Thomas Tilling (1825-1893)

1851 Thomas Tilling started running horse-buses from Peckham.[1]

1897 The company was registered to take over the business of job-masters, cab and omnibus proprietors, carried on under the same title. Horse omnibuses were gradually being replaced by motor omnibuses. [2] Became a public company.

c.1904 Tilling's was the first large company to adopt mechanically-propelled omnibuses

c.1907 Thomas Tilling, a large bus operator, purchased W. A. Stevens, makers of petrol-electric vehicles.

1911 Directory lists the company at Rosewell Avenue, High street, Peckham SE and Molesworth Street, Lewisham SE and as 'motor car repairers and garages'. [3]

By 1912 Tilling's had successfully motorized its bus services; entered into a pooling agreement with the London General Omnibus Co, which limited its motor bus fleet to 150. As a consequence it moved into provincial bus operations.

1916 Began to develop a series of 'area agreements' to regulate competition between the Tilling subsidiary businesses and those of the British Electric Traction company.

1921 Frederick Heaton joined the board of the company.

1924 Together with British Electric Traction Co, the company owned 70% of the shares in British Automobile Traction Co.[4]

1928 Increase in capital of British Automobile Traction Co 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.[5]

Under Heaton's direction, Tillings acquired a number of businesses which were not put into joint ownership with BET.

1931 Acquired a controlling interest (>90 percent) in the National Omnibus and Transport Co Ltd.[6]

1942 The shareholders of Tilling and British Automobile Traction Co 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.[7].

1947 Acquired a group of companies in the building, contracting and ancillary trades[8]:

Established a new business Reinforced Structures Ltd

1948 The British Transport Commission acquired Tilling Motor Services, National Omnibus and Transport Co and the Commercial Motor and Road Haulage undertaking of Thomas Tilling, together with other transport and haulage businesses.[9]

1948 Formation of holding company.

1949 Started on a strategy of acquisition of family-owned businesses; these were purchased without resort to enforced take-overs; later the strategy was restricted to acquisitions where the company could obtain a majority holding.[10]

1950 Acquired substantial interests in British Steam Specialties, maker of bronze and iron valves, and E. R. Holloway, maker of plastic powders; both became associated companies[11]. Acquired a 60 percent interest in James A. Jobling and Co, which became the largest subsidiary.[12]

1951 Acquired Mark Dawson and Son, worsted spinners of Bradford, which would be complementary to the company's interests in Timothy Hird and Sons; also acquired Stevensons (Dyers), and 60 percent interest in Newey and Eyre of Birmingham, electrical distributors.[13]

1961 Had eight main activities and 23 subsidiaries. Employed 13,000 persons. Holding company since 1948: [14][15]

1963 Acquired builders merchant subsidiaries, Gunton and Havers and Steels of Sunderland; Steels would become a subsidiary of Thomas Graham and Sons[16]

By 1964 the Building Supplies and Services division also included:[17]

1964 Exchange of subsidiaries with Courtaulds: Courtaulds acquired Spray and Burgass, dyers and finishers of Nottingham; Tillings acquired J. Walton (Electrical), a subsidiary of Lancashire Cotton Corporation.[18]

1967 Acquired Joshua Hindle and Sons.[19]

1973 Acquired George Boyd and Co, distributor of builders' and architectural ironmongery, tools, etc[20]. Acquired F. J. Reeves, builders merchants, with 44 branches in the West Country; this would complement Graham Building Services, with nearly 80 branches, making Thomas Tilling the largest builders merchants in the country[21].

1974 Acquired Tranmer Group[22] and Lockhart Bennett[23]

1978 Acquired Liner Concrete Machinery Co.

By 1983 Thomas Tilling included[24]:

1983 BTR Industries acquired Thomas Tilling in a contested take-over.[25]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Key Dates in the History of London Transport, by Transport for London
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. Post Office London Location Suburbs Directory, 1911.
  4. The Times, 7 July 1924
  5. The Times, 27 March 1928
  6. The Times, Mar 12, 1931
  7. The Times, 20 June 1942
  8. The Times Jan. 31, 1948
  9. The Times 9 November 1948
  10. The Times, Apr 25, 1962
  11. The Times, Mar 06, 1950
  12. The Times, Mar 06, 1950
  13. The Times, Apr 23, 1952
  14. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  15. The Times, Apr 25, 1961
  16. The Times Oct. 15, 1963
  17. The Times Apr. 17, 1964
  18. The Times, Nov 26, 1964
  19. The Times, June 21, 1967
  20. The Times Apr. 11, 1973
  21. The Times Oct. 6, 1973
  22. The Times Mar. 5, 1974
  23. The Times Aug. 9, 1974
  24. The Times, Jun 02, 1983
  25. The Times, Jun 09, 1983