During the late 19th century the port and city of Southampton expanded rapidly and, to cater for the growing population, a network of trams – horse initially but latterly electric – grew up. Expanding through until the late 1920s, the next decade saw the system begin to decline but, given a reprieve by the onset of World War II, the remaining trams – many of which were open-top – soldiered on into the years of post-war austerity. It was only in December 1949 that the city finally bade farewell to its last trams but, through the preservation of No 45, Southampton was to play a pivotal role in the development of the tramcar preservation movement. Now, little remains to remind people of this once important form of transport other than historic photographs.
The Lost Tramways of England series documents the tram networks which were at the heart of many of Britain’s growing towns and cities from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. Transport expert Peter Waller, author of numerous works on the regional tram systems of the UK, guides you along the route of the network and discusses its key features stop by stop.