Built by AEC, who would later design the iconic Routemaster, the B-type was the first double-decker bus specifically designed for London’s streets. Designed by Colonel Frank Seattle and Walter Iden, the B-type featured a four-cylinder side-valve engine developing about 25 h.p. at its optimum speed of 800 rpm, mounted in a chassis frame of white ash. The double-deck body accommodated sixteen passengers on inward facing upholstered seats inside, and eighteen on forward-facing wooden benches on the top deck, where each pair of seats had a canvas cover for wet weather.
The B-type served as a military vehicle in World War I. As troop-carriers the buses could carry 24 fully equipped men, and they also served as ambulances for the lightly wounded, wireless equipment centres for the cavalry, covered transport for rations, mobile lofts for carrier pigeons, field kitchens, armoured cars, field workshops and (when fitted with 13 pdr. guns) as mobile anti-aircraft carriages.
Illustrations commissioned by Lindsay Collier for the Lea Valley Experience Museum Project.