c1890 Three Light “Garden-Seat” Horse-Bus

The 3-light horse-bus in Museum service. © Michael Wickham

Date built: c1890
Registration: n/a
Acquired by Museum: 2007
Current State: Fully restored, operational

The Star Omnibus Co. Ltd. was formed in 1899, taking over the business of the Andrews’ Star Omnibus Co. Ltd formed in 1892 by Solomon Andrews and his son Francis. This enabled their existing business, Solomon Andrews and Son, to trade in London. The company operated fifteen routes at a fixed fare of 1d. The company suffered financially from the competition and went into liquidation in 1909 after the death of Solomon Andrews.

After service with the Star Company, this bus passed to W.A. Perry & Priest, who probably used it until August 1914, when it is likely that their horses were requisitioned for army service.

After that, it found its way into the ownership of Mills Circus, who used it for a number of years, before passing it on to Chessington Zoo. It was then operated on a service between Chessington South Station and the zoo. It was retired in 1949, when it failed to pass an inspection, and was sold to Car Mart.

It then passed to Mr George Mathey, and whilst in his ownership, it was on display at the Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Transport at Maidstone. It was sold in 1967 to Mr Temple Smith, of Chicago, as part of the Mathey Collection.

It returned from America in 1989, and has since received a thorough overhaul, and been repainted in what is belived to be the correct livery.

This bus was donated to the Museum by the John Andrews Charitable Trust in 2007.