Clough, Smith

Clough, Smith & Co. Ltd.
Industry Automotive industry
Electrical engineering
Founded 1910
Headquarters Yorkshire, UK
Key people
Norman Clough, Sidney G. Smith
Products Trolleybuses
Electrical equipment
Brands Straker-Clough

Clough, Smith, commonly known as Clough, Smith & Co. Ltd., is a British engineering company founded in 1910 by Norman Clough and Sidney G. Smith, experienced electrical engineers who moved into the manufacture of overhead power supplies for electrical tramways and trolleybuses.[1] They designed and manufactured both overhead and rail supplies for many systems in Britain prior to the First World War.[1] Post-war, the company used the profits from completion of work on the Teesside trolley system to purchase trolleybuses which had been in storage during the War. These were immediately sold at a profit and provided a basis for the trolleybus side of the business.[1]


The general manager of the Teesside Railless Traction Board developed a new and improved trolleybus design[1] and Clough, Smith arranged for it to be manufactured. It was marketed as the Straker-Clough trolley omnibus. This chassis and design came to be regarded as both pioneering and improving the industry standard.[2] The chassis was manufactured by Straker-Squire, the electrical equipment by BTH of Bath, Somerset, and Clough arranged production of the bodies. The whole would be sold to system operators as part of a package deal which included the design, supply and installation of the overhead electrical equipment.[1] Between October 1921 and September 1926, Clough, Smith sold 63 solid-tyred trolley omnibuses. Most went to various corporations in Yorkshire, UK, but some were exported to Bloemfontein, South Africa and Georgetown, Guyana[1]

In 1925, Straker-Squire went into voluntary liquidation and subsequently into receivership. By this time, Karrier had produced the UK's first three-axle passenger vehicle aided by developments in pneumatic tyres[3] and Clough-Smith themselves had moved to pneumatic-tyred production in November 1926 with a new LL (for low-loading) model. The company subsequently entered into an arrangement with Karrier to produce the Karrier-Clough trolley omnibus which Clough would market.[1] Karrier allocated the No. E6, to this model. The contract with Karrier ended in 1933, but Clough, Smith continued as a manufacturer and supplier of associated electrical equipment and was still active in the field in 1968–9, when the company removed redundant equipment at Reading, Berkshire.[2]

The company subsequently diversified into cable and electrcal supply, of all types, both in the UK and abroad, as well as railway signalling systems and the installation of one of the earliest fibre-optic systems for Mercury Communications which was laid alongside British Rail tracks.[2] Clough Smith continued to trade into the 21st century as Clough, Smith Rail Ltd., based in York, UK, specialising in electrical and associated equipment for rail systems.[4]

Trolleybus chassis


Of the chassis produced, 66 had bodies produced by Charles H. Roe, and the rest used a variety of bodies manufactured by Park Royal, Brush and Dodson.[5]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lumb, Geoff (1995). British Trolleybuses: 1911–1972. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 0711023476.
  2. 1 2 3 Lumb, Geoff (1995). British Trolleybuses: 1911–1972. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 0711023476.
  3. Lumb, Geoff (1995). British Trolleybuses: 1911–1972. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 0711023476.
  4. "Clough Smith Rail Ltd". 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  5. 1 2 Lumb, Geoff (1995). British Trolleybuses: 1911–1972. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 0711023476.
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