RLH Bus Information Centre

Weymann

Summary

Weymanns manufactured the RLH (and the Midland General original) in addition to many thousands of other steel and composite framed bus and coach bodies from the 1920s to the 1960s. For London, notably, 2138 AEC Regent RT bodies were made.

From 1937 to the early 1950s double deck buses were all of a very similar style; such as a very rounded rear dome, ventilators above the front upstairs windows.

Timeline


1921 - Charles Terres Weymann (born 1889, Haiti) built his first motor vehicle body in Paris, using aircraft building principles he had learned whilst experimenting and piloting aircraft. It was fabric covered.
8/1923- Weymann started a company in London which licensed bodymakers such as Harrington, Plaxton, Gurney Nutting, Martin Walker and Mann Egerton to use the principles he used in Paris
24/11/1925 'Weymann's Motor Bodies Ltd' founded to build Weymann bodies in Britain, using an ex Cunard Motor and Carriage Works in Putney
1928- Moved from Putney to Addlestone, taking over a building used by Blériot, in Station Road
1928- Factory built in Indianapolis. This built Stutz bodies using the Weymann method; however fabric bodies were obsolete by this time
1929- Started building bus bodies
1930- Contract for AEC Regals for London General Green Line Services. The first double deck bus bodies built.
1930- On 11th October, Green Line Coaches Ltd started a service from Chertsey-Weybridge-Kingston-Charing Cross on 11th October 1930. As a temporary measure, the coaches were parked on the Weymanns site at Addlestone.
1932- Charles Weymann resigns from the board in January.
1932- New company formed, Metropolitan Cammell-Weymann Motor Bodies Ltd, to sell bodies from both Weymann and Metropolitan-Cammell (a Birmingham firm who had been building buses for only 3 years, having built railway rolling stock for over 100 years). Designs and knowledge were also shared with Metropolitan Cammell; this lead to the first metal framed Weymann bus bodies.
1934- Arthur Thomas Froggatt becomes General Manager. He remained in leading roles until retirement in 1951. Froggat, Izod and Homfray-Davies were three board members who were the driving force behind the business.
1934- after the formation of London Transport the previous year, in December all Green Line and Country Bus Garages were allocated codes. 'WY' was allocated as the Weymann parking area alongside the river Wey used by Green Line coaches.
30th June 1936- London Transport opens a bus garage of their own in Addlestone, and so the vehicles previously stored in the Weymann parking area were transferred less than a mile to the new garage, which retained the same code - hence the reason for the code for Addlestone garage being 'WY'; which is was to remain throughout the years RLHs would in future operate there.
1935-1939 - Vehicles being sold to London, Trent, Midland General, South Shields, Northern, Bournemouth
1939-1945 - Almost 9,000 military vehicle bodies made (eg tractors, radio vans, armoured vehicles, tank transporters). Over 700 Utility bus bodies were built to a cost saving design from 1942. A total of 1,521 buses were built during this period.
1945- 'J Block' opened in the Weybridge Trading Estate, and used to build RTs for London Transport for the next eight years
1945 (approx) United Molasses took over a controlling stake of the Company` (retained until the 1960s)
1949- the 'Olympic' launched in conjunction with Leyland, a single deck bus of integral construction (no separate chassis and body) and with an underfloor engine. More popular abroad than with UK operators, nonetheless over 1000 were sold by 1957.
1948- the two MCW factories producing over 2000 buses a year
1949- production peaked at 972 units, with around 1500 employees
1950- built the first batch of 20 RLH bodies, and the 10 Midland General originals
1952- built the second batch of 56 RLH bodies
1953- final RTs built for London Transport. Over 2,000 RTs had been built in total.
1954-5- built 200 'Green Goddess' mobile pumps for the Auxiliary Fire Service, registrations NYV 686-885. These were fitted to Bedford chassis as part of a fleet of several thousand standardized vehicles used all over the UK to supplement (and occasionally replace) normal fire service appliances up to the present day. Co-incidentally, the model code was RLHZ! Also, around this time, Weymanns built 325 command post vehicles on Ford chassis for the Home Office (civil defence).
1957- Weymann and Leyland built a prototype Routemaster RM3, although Park Royal was chosen to build the main fleet in the end. After this time, Weymann did not make any new designs of its own
1958-1965 390 London taxi bodies built for Beardmore
1962- built the last new trolleybuses for Britain (Sunbeam MF2B type for Bournemouth)
1964- striking lasted for 21 weeks, almost stopping output, and resulting in many lay-offs
1963- Metro-Cammell purchased Weymanns
1965- closure of factory announced
1966- Addlestone factory closed. Since then, only the MCW company title was used, for production at Elmdon.
1967- the old Addlestone buildings found a new use with Plessey Radar in 1967, who made display systems there, along with carrying out sales and management functions. In 1990, the site was renamed Marconi when GEC and Siemens took over.
1977- MCW also built bus chassis by this time, such as the Metrobus model
1989- MCW bus production taken over by DAF Trucks and Optare. Railway oprations became part of the GEC Alsthom Group. The MCW Metrocab taxi business was sold to Reliant.

P1030372-c-m/JPG

Aviator Park occupies the site of the former Weymann works in Addlestone on 3rd May 2010. Photo copyright E. Pring

Books:

Book cover the Weymann Story: Part One - 1923-1945
by John A Senior MCIT, Alan Townsin and John Banks
1st Edition - 2002
Publisher: Venture Publications Ltd
ISBN 1 898 432 36 8
21cm x 30cm, hardback, 176 pages, 250 B&W illustrations
Image not available Air-Road-Sea Addlestone: the Bleriot-Weymann-Plessey Works 1916-1988
by J.H. Rowe
1992
Publisher: D.M. & J.L. Barker
ISBN 0 9518 658 1 1
17cm x 23.5cm, softback, 64 pages, B&W illustrations

Acknowledgements:

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