Names on the buses

808 William Henry Vokins

Connections with Brighton and Hove : William Henry Vokins was the founder of a family department store which was in Brighton for more than a century. Born in Leafield, Oxfordshire in 1861, he left the family home of 200 years for the bright lights of London. After working as a shop assistant in Peter Robinson,, the famous London store, Vokins and his friend W. T. Leeson moved to Brighton in 1882 and opened a drapery shop at 33 North Street. They traded as Leeson and Vokins. The move to Brighton came as a result of advice given by his doctor that the sea air would be beneficial to his health. Initially he travelled from Brighton to London several times a week to buy stock from the wholesalers. So impressed was the wholesaler with William that he offered him a line credit which enabled him to buy more stock whilst having to visit the capital less frequently. The business prospered and expanded, but, in 1925 the partnership was dissolved. William Henry Vokins retained the original premises, which continued to trade in Brighton until 1997. He was still active in the business well into his 80s, working alongside his sons, Howard and Gerald. Howard’s two sons, John and Trevor joined the business. John was a merchant specialising in silks and dress fabrics. He went on to open specialist fabric shops in Burgess Hill, Seaford and Northing. Trevor joined the family having qualified as an accountant. Gerald’s son Anthony was yet another merchant and became the joint managing director with Trevor and ultimately the chief executive. During their time at the helm, Vokins opened linen and bed specialist branches in Blatchington Road, Hove and Ash Lane, Rustington and a large bed and furniture store in Sackville Road, Hove. They both worked in the North Street store until its closure in 1997. Vokins now trade from their showroom at Keymer Road, Burgess Hill, under the name of Big Brand Beds.

808 Mercedes Streetdeck on Route 1 - carried name since December 2016.