When George Shillibeer introduced a public Omnibus on to the Streets of London in the late 1820's it was the first time that members of the public could be moved in large numbers around areas of the city. Over time many differing designs were produced by a number of bus operators but eventually these designs gave way to the 'Garden Seat Bus'. Many of the features are still present in the public buses on the streets of London today; forward facing top seats and the curved rear staircase.
The London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) became the largest operator of horse drawn Omnibuses and their refinement of the Omnibus design lead to the 'Garden Seat Horse Bus'. The bus would have been pulled by a pair of horses and fully laden would have carried more than 30 passengers. When ready to move off the Guard would have communicated with the Coachman via a bell cord. The Omnibus companies soon realised that the Buses were ideal mobile advertisements and adverts for many popular products were soon being displayed. This was a useful income in the cut throat world of the bus operators, with many fares being reduced in order to tempt members of the public onto a particular operator's bus or route. With the invention of the combustion engine the decline of the horse drawn bus was inevitable. The last horse drawn Omnibuses were withdrawn from service by the LGOC just before the outbreak of the First World War.
Although the maker of this scale replica of a Garden Seat Horse Bus is unknown, it is outstanding in its execution and has provided hours of fun and enjoyment for the family of its current owner. The upper brown body is decorated with traditional period advertising. The internal passenger compartment is correctly upholstered and the upper roof seats are accessed via a spiral staircase.
The undercarriage is finished in cream and is in sound condition. The wooden wheels are iron shod and again show no signs of movement. For many years the Omnibus was used to herald the arrival of 'Father Christmas' at the Olympia horse show, where it was driven to a pair of ponies. The Omnibus is complete with the correct type bus lamp and a pair pole.