Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: June 18, 2017.
Webpage updated: June 18, 2017




Messrs Hopper and Berryman were proprietors of the Saint Mary's Garage at Plympton, from where they ran a frequent motor bus service into Plymouth.  They had three Lancia buses, painted in a Prussian blue livery, with the fleet name "HB".

In Plymouth Mr Clarence Mumford, son of Mr William Mumford, the founder of Messrs W Mumford Ltd, motor engineers, was looking to expand his business.  During 1928 he supplied Messrs Hopper & Berryman with two Associated Daimler Company (ADC) 26-seat saloon buses and he saw this as an ideal place from which to start his expansion plans.  Through his contacts with Associated Equipment Company Ltd (AEC) he organised a loan of an Associated Daimler type 802, a huge six-wheel, 68-seat, double deck buses for use on the Plympton to Plymouth route operated by HB Buses.  Registered as OX 4594, it arrived in Plymouth on February 9th 1929 and after a stay of two weeks it was replaced with a similar vehicle, WE 2205.

Mr Mumford also spotted the fact that anyone wanting to go from Plymouth to Torquay had to change buses twice, at Totnes and again at Paignton.  So in order to provide a through service, he purchased Mr Hendra's "Totnesia" bus, which was already running between Totnes and Paignton and extending the route into Torquay.  Plymothians now had an alternative to the Great Western Railway service to Paignton and Torquay.

On March 19th 1929 Mr Mumford registered Messrs HB Buses Ltd and also a subsidiary company, Messrs Cornish Buses Ltd.  The latter opened a through service from Plymouth to Penzance on March 22nd 1929.

A booking office was opened during the spring of 1929 at number 18 Whimple Street, right next door to the National Omnibus & Transport Company's one.  Mr Charles R Hopper was appointed Depot Superintendent at Whimple Street, while Mr Berryman became District Engineer at Plymouth.  As the Company held the terminal control agency for the Elliott Brothers' "Royal Blue" express services from London and Bournemouth, they opened a waiting room in Notte Street.

In June 1929 the Company took over the business of Messrs W T Coath & Son's "Eddystone Motors", who operated motor bus services from Plymouth to Plymstock, Elburton, Hooe and Wembury.

On July 31st 1929 an agreement was signed by HB Buses, National and Devon General whereby all competing services were to be worked on a joint 50-50 basis except the Plymouth to Torquay route, where National and Devon general each ran seven journeys and HB were to run six.  (It will be noticed that this totals 20 journeys whereas a press report of the time refers to 22.)  The agreement also prohibited HB Buses from running anywhere east of the river Yealm on the Modbury road.

As from February 3rd 1930 HB Buses Ltd became the much grander Southern General Omnibus Company Ltd, which upset the London General Omnibus Company Ltd.