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The Outer Circle


Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Len: Thanks for posting the article about the Outer Circle 11 and it's history. It's very interesting to see how the route evolved over the years decades ago.
I know about "bunching" years ago on the No. 11 route. Caused me to be late for work many a time. It was so frustrating for everyone standing
at the bus stop in the morning. Not a good way to start the day.

Dave Riley

master brummie
Thanks Len, great article. Brings back many happy memories when I was a kid and had a few hours spare during the school holidays, great way to spend an afternoon. I think more people look at those new TV screens they have on some buses on the 11 route now rather than study the interesting and varied areas the route passes, that is if the TV screens are working. Talking of those TV screens, as they are computer based I sometimes get carried away with the interesting Microsoft Windows error messages thrown up on them! I have missed my stop a couple of times being too interested in the error message and what could be the cause of it!


master brummie
Thanks for that. Len - although - was some of it missing? The early history seemed a bit vague, so here are my route records up to c1932.
As you all will know, the one place it never went - either as a terminus or via point - was Birmingham!

15/1/1923: New service 11
Erdington (Six Ways) via Wood End Rd, Bromford Lane, Stechford Lane, Station Rd, Stony Lane, Church Rd, Yardley Rd, Sherbourne Rd, Station Rd and Warwick Rd to Acocks Green (Shirley Rd). Return via Dudley Park Rd, Sherbourne Rd etc.

14/5/1923 Service extended from Acocks Green via Westley Road, Summer Road, Shaftmoor Lane, College Rd, Wake Green Rd and St Mary’s Row to Moseley Village.

16/7/1923 Service extended from Erdington via Reservoir Rd to Stockland Green.

12/11/1923 Service extended from Stockland Green via Marsh Hill, Brookvale Rd, Witton Rd and Aston Lane to Perry Barr.

2/2/1925 Service extended from Perry Barr via Wellington Rd, Church Lane, Oxhill Rd, Rookery Rd, Soho Rd, Boulton Rd, Handsworth New Rd, Winson Green Rd, Dudley Rd, City Rd, Sandon Rd, Barnsley Rd and Hagley Rd to Kings Head PH. Service named “Outer Circle”.

7/4/1926 Service extended from Hagley Rd via Lordswood Rd, Harborne Park Rd, Harborne Lane, Oak Tree Lane, Linden Rd, Watford Rd, Pershore Rd, Fordhouse Lane, Vicarage Rd, Alcester Rd South, Addison Rd, Brook Lane, Coldbath Rd, Swanshurst Lane, Cole Bank Rd, Stratford Rd, School Rd, Fox Hollies Rd and Westley Rd to Acocks Green (incorporating service 10). Section of route between Acocks Green and Moseley (14/5/1923 extension) transferred to service 1A (q.v.).
The route is now fully circular.

6/7/1932 Service diverted from Sherbourne Rd via Dudley Park Rd and Warwick Rd to Westley Rd.

And here's one of the route information booklets, when the route skipped from urban to countryside scenery between districts.


master brummie
Although the transport department never bought any second-hand buses, in 1924 the popularity of the 11 route as it was developing was so great that the 20 seat Leyland and 24 seat Daimler single deckers that ran it were totally insufficient, and in consequence new double deckers were ordered from AEC in London. Until they were ready, AEC hired nine former London 'General' "B" type buses to the department in 1924/5 for immediate use on the 11.
Unfortunately Birmingham is far more hilly than London, and they were plagued with overheating and breakdowns which didn't really help!
They ran in full London General red livery, like this now-preserved one illustrated.

David Harvey

master brummie
Most of the last two years correspondence and queries can be answered in "Outer Circle" by David Harvey, Peter Drake and Margaret Hanson, published by Tempus Publishing, (now The History Press) in 2003. :)

Roy Rocket

proper brummie kid
All the comments re the 'Outer Circle' brought back memories of my brother and me being sent off for the afternoon with sandwiches and a bottle of cold tea - grabbing the upstairs front seat and completing the entire circuit. I didn't see any mention of the shorter escapade on the No.8 Inner Circle!!! Same sandwiches/cold tea but much shorter outing.


knowlegable brummie
Great thread, thanks everyone for all the information and remiscences. The no.11 was an alternative route for me travelling from Sheldon to school on the Hagley Road back in the 60s. Quickest (usually) was into town and out again but if there was time to spare it was a nice change.

I notice our friends over at Birmingham:It's Not Sh*t are promoting an '11 hours on the no.11 bus on the 11th day of the 11th month' event next month.
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OldBrit in Exile
One of my favorite rides in the late40s early 50s was the #11 around the outer circle, Is that still in service? John Crump Old Brit, parker Co USA


Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Hi John: Welcome to BHF. The Outer Circle Bus route is still going strong and is a firm favourite for so many people. There is so much information, films and photographs of the route online and it even has it's own website. www.elevenbus.co.uk Here is another link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FYUfEtt2-s&feature=related. It also has it's own song.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PzzAVXcWZs
I lived close to the route for several years in the charming suburbs of Birmingham. The 11 route is unique. is a part of Brum's history and has so many sentimental memories for lots of Brummies.

Angela K

master brummie
Just read the postings with interest, thanks.
The Number 11 played a big part in my life in the 1960s.
I loved the monthly trips to my grandma at Perry Barr, I caught the bus to school at Erdington for five years, went regularly to the library at the Swan and the shops at the Yew Tree, occasionally to the cinema at the Fox and Goose and it was handy for visiting friends at various places. Best of all, as a girl, was the chance to take a trip all the way round, pocket-money permitting, and enjoy sightseeing and daydreaming for at least a couple of hours.
No wonder I remember it well!


master brummie
So far I have not managed to do the Outer Circle on my visits to Birmingham, it's top of my list the next time I get over!


master brummie
A few photos with an Outer Circle connection. My brother-in-law's mother was a bus conductress (clippie) on the Outer Circle route in the late 1940's. She was based at the Wellhead Lane garage and these photos of a young girl playing by the buses at Wellhead Lane garage were taken there. They used to put on Christmas Pantomines in a theatre there, I saw one it was great - amazing what was done in those days. I suppose none of it's there now. I'm told that the bus crews had a preference for the clockwise route.




master brummie
It was unfortunate she was standing in front of the number plate. I notice a couple of dents in the front mud guard, and the low probably yellow fog lamp brings back memories of the fogs back then, and I remember once seeing a bus conductor walking in front of the bus to guide it in a thick fog.

Anne Jessel

master brummie
Thank you for these brilliant photos. It's all so interesting. I think I was a passenger on this bus from time to time, but I was very very small


Brum visitor who stayed.
It was unfortunate she was standing in front of the number plate. I notice a couple of dents in the front mud guard, and the low probably yellow fog lamp brings back memories of the fogs back then, and I remember once seeing a bus conductor walking in front of the bus to guide it in a thick fog.

HOV 711 was the registration number you were lookiing for old Mohawk .

Angela K

master brummie
I wonder who that little girl was in the photos and whether she is still around.

They are great shots, thanks for sharing them.