London Country - the shattered polo mint

London Country was formed when the Greater London Council took control of London's buses and the country area was made as a separate bus company and put into control of the National Bus Company. It soon took on the mantle of a provincial company and lost its London heritage in the process. Lincoln green gave way to NBC leaf green and NBC standard Atlanteans, Nationals - and even some VRs - joined the fleet.

Preparation for privatisation in the eighties saw the company subdivided into North East, North West, South East and South West divisions. All four companies moved into London central area services as tendered operations. The South East company was the most radical renaming itself Kentish Bus and adopting a cream and maroon livery. It was acquired by Proudmutual, the parent company of Northumbria Motor Services.

South-West became London & Country and adopted a modern version of London Country livery. Its London operations traded as Londonlinks. It became part of British Bus, as did Proudmutual and its subsidiaries. It acquired the Guildford area operations of Alder Valley when that company was split up.

North East split itself into two - Sovereign and County. The latter sold out to Arriva, whilst the former was part of the Blazefield Group.

North West appeared to be in the worst financial state. It sold its Slough area operations to Len Wright's Beeline and eventually the rest of the company was sold for £1 to employee owned Luton & District. The original London country area green livery was reintroduced with a silver front. Luton adopted a similar layout for its red/cream livery until the whole lot was swept away by the Shires image with blue and yellow fleet colours. The Shires became a British Bus subsidiary.

With Arriva acquiring British Bus, virtually the whole of London Country is now back in common ownership the exception being the First owned Beeline operations which were closely associated with First's London fleet. The Sovereign operations slowly disintegrated with most of its activities acquired by Arriva, though operations in St Albans went to Uno by way of Centrebus.

Because of the multiplicity of ownership, the galleries above are grouped primarily by vehicle livery.