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A brief history of Preston’s former public tramways

Posted on - 3rd June, 2014 - 6:30pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Nostalgia, Photos
Horse drawn tram at the bottom of Fishergate Hill. 31 December 1903

Horse drawn tram at the bottom of Fishergate Hill. 31 December 1903

With the recent announcement of the possible re-use of a section of the former Preston and Longridge railway line as a new tramway for Preston, we thought that it would be interesting to look into Preston’s trams of times gone by.

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Horse drawn tramways were in force in Preston from 1879 and were a very successful form of public transport in their time. The main drawbacks of using horses was the necessary feeding and watering of them and of course the stabling during non-working times. Also, not least, was the inevitable waste the horses left behind in the streets which, in that period would have been somewhat of a tremendous pollution; although, I should imagine that gardeners would not have complained.

W. Harding & Co. Ltd. Livery Stables Fishergate, Preston 1895

The main company for all the stabling for the duration of the horse drawn tramways was W. Harding & Co. Ltd. Livery Stables, originally located at the summit of Fishergate Hill, opposite the railway station. Harding’s subsequently removed to the former Post Office building on Fishergate in 1902 when their premises, along with two hotels were demolished to make way for the railway bridge extension.

Departure of the first electric tram in service on Lancaster Road Preston. 7 June 1904

Departure of the first electric tram in service on Lancaster Road Preston. 7 June 1904

In 1904 the horse drawn tram system had come to an end and was superseded by the electric overhead trolley system, the first car being run on 7 June 1904. The contractors for the work involved in the electrification of the tramways, including the cars, permanent way, overhead equipment and generating plant were Dick, Kerr and Co., of Preston. The power station on Holmrook Road, adjacent to the Deepdale Road Tram Depot, was erected by a Mr. T. B. Garnett and the chimney-stack was built by T. Croft and Sons.

Preston Guild 1952 Deepdale Bus Depot which, at one time, was the former Tram Depot

Preston Guild 1952 Deepdale Bus Depot which, in earlier days, was the former Tram Depot

At that time in 1904, Preston Corporation had 30 double deck cars and by 1912 four new single cars were added. The routes initially were to Sharoe Green Lane (via North Road), Sharoe Green Lane (via Deepdale Road, Farringdon Park, Ashton, Penwortham and Ribbleton.

Preston Corporation Tram No.18 Fishergate, Preston 1906

Preston Corporation Tram No.18 Fishergate, Preston 1906

Preston Corporation tram on a recruiting drive for the Preston Pals, Deepdale Depot,1914

Preston Corporation tram on a recruiting drive for the Preston Pals, Deepdale Depot,1914

The final tram to depart from Fulwood Preston. December 15th 1935

The final tram to depart from Fulwood Preston. December 15th 1935

On 15 December 1935, the final tram to depart from Fulwood made its way to the town for the very last journey which signalled the end of the Preston tramways for good.

…or maybe not quite for good!

Many thanks goes out to the Preston Digital Archive for use of their images in this article.

Do you have any stories of the former tramways of Preston’s past? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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