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Mackay's omnibuses outside Stromness Hotel
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Mackay's omnibuses outside Stromness Hotel

From a postcard, courtesy Jim Robertson, Stromness. Pre-WW1.
Mackay's (omni)buses, outside Mackay's Stromness Hotel. Presumably the inauguration of a Stromness-Kirkwall service. (Vintage enthusiasts will hopefully supply relevant details.) The numberplate on the left-hand bus is partly obscured by the front suspension, but could read S481
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Picture added on 27 April 2011 at 18:57
Or, just as easily, and more probably, the numberplate could read S487.
Added by Ian Hourston on 28 April 2011
When you view the large image you will see the one on the left is S487 and that on the right S486. They would appear to be steamers, any idea of the make, Stanley comes to mind.
Added by Tom Scott on 29 April 2011
These are the two Sterling motor buses with which E. J. Robertson Grant started Orkney Motor Express in 1905. There are further photos and details in David Tinch's "Shoal and Sheaf" and Alastair and Anne Cormack's "Days of Orkney Buses". W. R Tullock helped run the company, so perhaps David can say more about the vehicles.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 04 May 2011
Seems my informant may have been mistaken about the owner/operator of the buses. (Never thought to look in Shoal and Sheaf.) Googling Sterling buses comes up with Stirling buses and photos of the same model. Sterling or Stirling? I incline towards the latter, but I've already proved how much I know.
Added by Ian Hourston on 07 May 2011
There is an excellent photo of S-486 with EJ Robertson-Grant at the wheel and a load of passengers in Motoring Memories by Robert Grieves. As mentioned above the bus was a 1905 Stirling built ar Granton and operated by the Orkney Motor Express between Kirkwall and Stromness. Due to unreliability of the buses the route reverted to horse drawn coaches in 1909.
Added by Tom Scott on 07 July 2011
Stirling or Sterling? We have old photos showing these and other buses taken outside the Kirkwall Cycle & Motor Depot in 1905. The writing on the reverse side (written by my Grandfather) describes them as Sterling 14-16 seater buses. We still have in our possession a road wheel complete with solid tyre, reputed to have been used on these buses.
Added by David Tullock on 09 July 2011
There is a web site headed Madelvic Car Factory - Grangemouth.
Stirling Motor Company 1902 - 1905.
Three photos of buses and lorries with a caption "Stirling Motor Company used the Madelvic Motor Car factory in Granton to build their lorries and buses after buying Kingsburgh Motor Co the then occupants of the factory, in 1902.
One photo is captioned "Stirling Motor Company buses, built in Granton and operating in Perth, W. Australia.
Another is of S-486 captioned "A Stirling Motor Company bus, built at Granton and operating in the Orkney Islands".
This photo was obviously taken at the same time as the one above but from the other side.
I have seen the name "Sterling" used in other publications so there is confusion but in my opinion it is Stirling.
Added by Tom Scott on 09 July 2011
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