|The industry began in a small way producing early trams
and tram systems, and went-on to produce vast numbers of
trolley buses at Guy Motors and Sunbeam, and large numbers
of motorised buses at Guy Motors.
The pioneer was Thomas
Parker, an inventive genius, who designed some of the
earliest trams, including the first British tram system of
any size, at Blackpool. Whilst with E.C.C. he developed the
area's first electrically-powered tram systems in
Birmingham, and the Black Country. He finished his working
life in London as chief consulting engineer for the
electrification of London underground, and a director of the
Metropolitan Railway Company.
In the late 1920's
Wolverhampton Corporation decided to replace the existing Lorain tram
system with trolley buses, and so the scene was set for a whole new
manufacturing industry. Guy Motors were first to respond, and began
supplying the town with trolley buses in 1926. Guy was soon followed
by Sunbeam, and they both became large manufacturers.
Orders increased as the
town's suburbs grew and the bus system was enlarged accordingly. The
trolley bus system became the largest in the world, and soon attracted
much interest from abroad. Official deputations came from all of
the continents to inspect the system, and Wolverhampton became their
showcase. The local manufacturers became well known internationally, and
orders poured in. Sunbeam and Guy eventually came together and became
the largest trolley bus manufacturer in the world. They also produced
large numbers of motor buses which were sold worldwide.
Sadly the industry went into decline in the late 1950's
and never recovered. The last trolley buses were produced at Fallings
Park, Wolverhampton in 1962.
Other manufacturers also produced passenger
vehicles. High quality coaches were built in Wolverhampton
by A.J.S., and in West Bromwich by Jensen, but only in small
numbers. Both Bean in Tipton, and Star in Wolverhampton
built lightweight coaches, but again not many were made.
The industry ended with the closure of Guy
Motors in August 1982 after 68 years of production.