Bygones: Nottingham's famous trams
PARLIAMENT told Nottingham it could start running trams back in 1877 and, little more than a year later, the first horse-drawn services began.
There were two routes – one from St Peter's Church running along Carrington Street and out towards Trent Bridge, the other to London Road.
Time of change: This picture, taken in 1910, shows just two cars parked in Long Row. Trams predominate but the age of the horse is not yet over.
Pride: A tram crew in 1910 at the Mapperley terminus in Porchester Road. The driver was Bill Knight and the conductor Alf Burton.
Link-up: A "Ripley Rattler" in Upper Parliament Street.
New power: An electric tram running along Vernon Road.
Under cover: Long Row and Chapel Bar in 1910. The policy of adding top coverings to trams to protect passengers was continued and by 1909, 72 out of the 125 trams in service had been fitted with the equipment.
Brisk trade: Trams move round the congested market area in 1910.
Hauled by a couple of powerful horses, the first trams were single-deck, although later, an open top deck was introduced. Because of the capricious nature of the weather, these eventually had to be covered.
The popularity of the new urban transport soon grew and with it came an expansion of the service, to Carrington, Basford and Sherwood. To negotiate the steep Derby Road gradient, spare horsepower was held at Chapel Bar but this was time-consuming and, as industry became more mechanised, so Nottingham Corporation began to search for more efficiency.
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A steam tram was tried, at a cost of £80,000, and then came the electricity revolution.
Dozens of new trams in their maroon and cream city livery, were brought in after a successful trial run in November 1900: The tram that set out from Sherwood depot was loaded with three tons of sand to simulate passengers.
More routes were developed, to Bulwell and St Ann's, Mapperley and Radford.
As the 20th century dawned, Nottingham had more than 100 trams on the streets.
Commuters became familiar with products like Crawford's Butter Puffs, Nubolic Soap, Bovril and Kiddier Brushes, which were widely advertised on the transport.
Investment in the tram system continued at pace.
Most of the fleet was covered in by the end of the first decade. New routes to Colwick and Carlton were opened, along with a link-up with the Notts and Derbys Tramway Company which established the Ripley Rattler.
Overhead traction poles were also realigned to improve traffic flow.
The First World War opened the way for women to work as conductresses, with so many men called away to the Front, and although the war led to an inevitable decline in use, once the world returned to normal, the trams became ever more popular.
So much so that, in the early 1920s, buses were brought in to cope with demand.
It would take more than a decade for the change but the seeds of the tram's demise had been sown.
More trams were introduced and new routes opened but, as traffic on city streets increased, so the large, lumbering trams became more of a hindrance.
Trolleybuses were introduced in 1927, putting even more pressure on the tram, and public investment was directed towards this new form of transport, along with the buses.
It was hastened by alterations to the Old Market Square which meant some tracks had to be ripped up or altered.
As the '30s unfolded, trolleybuses began to replace trams and their number declined. The Corporation recouped its investment by selling off the old vehicles, six of them ending up in Buenos Aires.
The final page in the old tram's history came in 1936 when the last service ran over the Arnold route before being driven into historic retirement at the Parliament Street depot by city transport committee chairman Alderman J Farr.
It heralded the era of the trolleybus and the trams would have to wait for a new century to dawn before they made their comeback on the city streets.
The first Bygones edition of 2011 will focus on the development of trams in Nottingham.
It will be on sale at local newsagents from January 11, priced 65p.
The source for this article was David J Ottewell's publication Nottingham's Trams & Trolleybuses, published by the county council in 2000.