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A modern electric bus run by the Big Lemon standing outside the old electrobus garage in Brighton

The old garage and charging station in Brighton is the most significant survivor of  the electrobus days. The building, in Montague Place, Kemptown, was the only purpose-built charging station in the country. It was opened in June 1909. It is still used as a garage, although it now used to maintain cars and not buses.

The local bus company, the Brighton Hove and Preston United built the garage on land that it leased from the council in 1908. This modest industrial structure was made a listed building by Historic England in May 2015.

 

 

This hole in the wall is the original entrance to the Motor Car Emporium’s works

Another rare survivor is the works of the Motor Car Emporium, where the prototype electrobus was assembled from British and French components. The emporium had been based at this site since 1904. From this base the emporium supplied commercial vehicles to a number of customers, quickly gaining a well-earned reputation for taking orders, and deposits, but failing to supply the vehicles.

The emporium’s works, in a turning off Holland Park Avenue, was a former stables next to a pub, called the Norland Arms. The pub closed in about 1991 and has since been converted into offices. The old stables yard is now housing. According to newspaper reporters who visited the premises in 1906 the stables yard had space for no more than 15 buses.

 

 

An electric bus passing the offices of the Department for Transport in Horseferry Road.

The original electrobus garage and charging station in London was on the corner of Earl Street (now called Marsham Street) and Horseferry Road. The buses used to enter the garage in Earl Street, swap their exhausted batteries for fresh ones and leave the garage via the exit in Horseferry Road. The site has been completely redeveloped twice in the intervening years and no vestige of the original garage remains. The latest building to occupy the site is now the headquarters of the Department for Transport. The old electrobus exit is on almost exactly the same spot as the arch in the photograph, which is now the entrance to the Department of Transport.