Wray's Motor & Body Co. Ltd. / Motor & Accessories Co. 1928-29 (Vol. Two)

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Last updated 17 January 2016

Once in a blue moon a very exceptional set of photographs comes to light, and the Classic Buses Website has pleasure in presenting this Special Vintage Gallery to display just such a collection. As far as is known, these images have never been published as a series before.

John Page acquired these remarkable photos in an album in 2006. Unfortunately the album was in a bad state and had obviously been stored in very damp conditions, so John had great difficulty prising the pages apart without damaging the photos. Eventually they were dried out and scanned, and the result can be seen below. It soon became apparent that the set seemed to be connected with a specific body manufacturer, and were all taken in the same location - but who, and where?

Research revealed that a London company named Wray's Motor & Body Co. Ltd. ("Motor & Accessories Co.") of 40 Waterford Road, Walham Green, London SW6, were building coachwork for a variety of chassis around 1928-29 and, before delivery, drove each vehicle round to The Boltons - a very posh square in Kensington - to take a photograph. The Boltons is an oval of very expensive Victorian houses set around a fenced garden containing a church (St.Mary The Boltons), just south of the Old Brompton Road in Kensington, London SW10. Recent residents have included Liz Hurley, Mark Thatcher, Rod Stewart and ballerina Darcey Bussell, and the houses are currently worth multi-millions.

Particular thanks must be made to John Bennett for his specialist knowledge in attempting to identify the vehicles concerned. Without his expertise, we would still be wallowing in ignorance. So my thanks to John Bennett for much of the content of the captions, and of course to John Page for sending me the images. I hope you enjoy the result.

Due to the size of this collection, the series has been divided into two parts. For Volume One of this Gallery, click here.

John Bennett feels that the most likely candidate for this vehicle is YU 5623, an Albion PK26 (chassis number 5044B), with a C26F body, new in June 1927 to Webb, of Street. We have already come across F & J.Webb (Motor and Accessories Co.), of Street, Somerset, as their 1926 Lancia is shown on Page One of this Album. Webb had three Albions, but YU 5623 is the most likely suspect here.

Here are three pictures of a Leyland PLSC3 Lion. This is what we believe to be UC 7191 (chassis number 46315) with a Wray C35D body, delivered in February 1928. Records seems to show that it was supplied to S. & L.Killick, Strood, Kent, and the inscription on the side of the vehicle reads "S & L.K., Maids of Kent, Rochester"

UC 7191 is mentioned in the M&D and East Kent Bus Club's publication "Maidstone & District, Illustrated Fleet History 1911-1977", in which the section for 1929 records that M&D took over the business and fleet of W.Buck Motor Services, Week St., Maidstone in that year, involving the acquisition of 16 vehicles among which was UC 7191. So it seems to have passed from "Maids of Kent", to Buck's, to Maidstone & District.

According to the book, the subsequent history of it is also interesting; circa 1930; sold to Browning, Whitburn. 1935; To Scottish Motor Traction (SMT) as their No.G69, with a replacement Leyland B30F body. 1936; withdrawn and sold to "Motor & Accessories Co.Ltd." (dealer), London SW - Can that mean it went back to Wray at Walham Green?. Then circa 1937 to Nelson, Kingrage (where on earth is that?) - not as a PSV. 1940; Dutch, Perth - not as a PSV. Last licenced with them in 1941.

John Bennett says "there appears to be some doubt about the origin of a number of vehicles which came to M&D in 1929. The answer may well be that all the firms were related in some way for operational purposes. A Wray advert shows this coach as a 35 seater, it is not a chara, but C35D. From M&D it went to H Croisdale, Burnley, then to Ribble (fleet number 1029), then to J Browning, Whitburn and to SMT G69 in 1935. I have a picture of it with SMT still with the coach body, it then became a goods vehicle with its last two owners. It cannot have had a Leyland bus body!

On the side of this coach it says "Regent Pullman, Safety Saloon, London & Southampton", with a Reo winged badge in the centre providing the clue that this is a Reo Pullman. On the back is written "Modern Travel", with a Speedwell telephone number ("Speedwell" was a London telephone exchange for the Golders Green area). John Bennett says "The only Modern Travel I can find is A.M. Kemp-Gee, Southampton."

In 2015 Peter Delaney very kindly drew my attention to an article in the 29 March 1927 edition of Commercial Motor magazine. It was a review of bodywork on long-distance buses (described as routes exceeding 60 miles) and included two pictures of what is clearly the same vehicle as that shown above, one showing that it was wearing 'trade plate' 094 LM. The article reveals that "...the body is finished in a light shade of green with a deep band of cream at the waist, and the interior harmonizes with the main colour scheme."

It quotes that a route "...that will soon command attention is that between the metropolis and Southampton. This is being maintained by the Modern Travel Co., of London NW, and a vehicle which will shortly be seen in use between the two places is the Reo-Pullman saloon shown in accompanying illustrations. The body has recently been completed in the shops of the Motor and Accessories Co., 40 Waterford Road, Walham Green, London SW6 and is a high-grade product."

The full text of the article can be found here. My thanks to Peter for sending me the information.

Another winged Reo logo on the side of this little bus identifies it as UP 259, a Reo Speedwagon delivered in September 1927 to M.Webb, Tanfield Lea (Durham), trading as "ReoLiance".

All that can be said (for now) about this vehicle is that it is a Maudslay ML4, the destinations written above the windows include London, Ipswich and Lowestoft, and it may have belonged to Charles Green Motors, of 20 Ensign Rd, Greenwich. More information is welcomed.

This one generated some headaches. Although it eventually turned out to be a Reo Pullman, John Bennett was initially led into the wilderness because (as he said) "The coach in the picture does not display any typical Reo features. It is quite a big vehicle for a Reo of this date, although I do know that "26 seat" chassis were available. The radiator is bolted together from sections rather than a single casting or pressing; old fashioned headlights and the unusual bumper are also odd. Could it be an old chassis refurbished and given a new body? This is in the realms of speculation."


But the above enlargements of the registration number and the badge on the side eventually revealed it to be ML 3623, Reo Pullman (chassis number 2768) new in April 1927 to H.G.Balch Safety Coaches, Chiswick London W12

This charming little bus, with its bulb-operated air horn, is TW 6936, a Morris Z (chassis number 885), delivered in January 1927 to H.Sefton, of Althorne, Essex, who traded as "Burnham & District Motor Services". They were a short-lived outfit, and soon both of their buses were re-posessed.

All we can say about this picture is what is written on the side - "Black & White Super Safety Coach, Hoo". Is that the Hoo near Rochester? Hoo knows? If you can provide any clues we'd be delighted to hear from you.

This is a Reo Sprinter belonging to Theresie Safety Coaches of Chatham, Kent. It is either UC 9252 or 9253 (chassis numbers 4804 or 4992 respectively), new in March 1928, and has a C20D body. V.Vella, trading as "Theresie Safety Coaches", was taken over by Maidstone & District in January 1930. At the time, all their ten vehicles were Reos - mostly Pullmans and Sprinters.

And finally an unsolved crime. The badge on the side says "Ferndale Luxury Coaches, Phone Albert Dock 1182". C.Brookes & Palmer traded under the name "Ferndale Coaches" from London E6 around that time, so maybe that's the same firm. John Bennett says it's definitely not a Gilford, and that's as far we've got. So please send your thoughts and suggestions.

For Volume One of this Gallery, click here.

For another Special Vintage Gallery, click here.

For many other buses, have a look at all the other profiles on the Classic Buses menu page.

SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Home   Email   THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU   Events Diary   Links   Small-Ads   Halfcab list   Classic Irish Buses