Illustrated history of the National Tramway Museum at Crich
Part 2 1970 to 1979
The first catering facility at the Museum was a tea caravan at Town End in 1961. This was a touring caravan with a serving hatch cut in to one side. It was provided by George Briddon, landlord of the Cliff Inn, and was staffed on Sundays by his daughters. By 1965, the Briddon family was operating a larger caravan in a corner of the new car park (now the members’ car park) but with increasing visitor numbers something better was soon required. A new wooden building was erected in 1969 and was first used to provide breakfasts for Extravaganza volunteers that year. It opened to the public in 1970 being operated by Shirley (nee Briddon) and Dennis Hall so that for the first time members and visitors could enjoy a hot meal in civilised conditions. Over the years the building has been strengthened and modified but it remains in daily use forty years later as Rita’s Tea Rooms.
Through the generosity of a member who remained anonymous, the Society was able to acquire the field opposite Town End and two cottages which were combined to form Field House which has been used to provided short term accommodation for members ever since.
Another property acquired in 1970 was the lease of the former BR Relics Store at Clay Cross. Again this building is still in use forty years later although after considerable rebuilding following a fire.
93. The cafe now known as Rita’s Tearooms in March 2010.
94. A recent view of Field House Field and Field House.
Site work continued throughout 1970 with the start of a concrete floor for the new workshop, it should be remembered that all the depots still had bare earth floors at this time. A new underground three phase cable was laid from the meter house to the engine shed and on to the power house enabling various overhead cables to be taken down. A start was made on the construction of a street with granite setts and flag stones outside the bookshop. Also some gas lamps were erected. At the end of the year Town End was described as a battlefield with trenches for power, gas, mains water and drainage.
The major tram event of 1970 was the arrival of Vienna 4225 in April. 4225 was built in New York in 1939 and sent to Vienna in 1949 as part of the Marshall Plan. It was demonstrated to members after the Society’s AGM in May. The major problem was the driver operated air doors that were set up for right hand running and interlocked with the control systems.
95. Vienna 4225 as delivered to Crich in 1970. Note the pile of granite setts to the right of the picture.
Other trams receiving attention included Glasgow 812 and 1115 which both received new mocquette upholstery downstairs and 1115 was repainted as was Leeds 602. Sheffield 264 had become very shabby and a small group of members painted it and restored it to working condition between 1967 and 1970.
96. Sheffield 264 in the new workshop early in 1970.
97. Sheffield 264 in December 1966.
98. Sheffield 264 in October 1970.
99. Sheffield 264 in service in October 1970. The driver seems to have forgotten her uniform.
101. Leeds 399 being removed from the stone workshop and placed on the track in front of Depot A to make room for Southampton 45. Depot A was to be removed in the next few months.
102. The distinguished guests on 3rd October 1970 – 10 years after the closure of Sheffield tramways.
103. Sheffield 15, 264 and 46 at the staff post in October 1970.
The trams which ran in service in 1970 were Blackpool 2, 49, 59, Glasgow 812, 1100, 1297, Leeds 180, Prague 180, Sheffield 189, 264,510 and Vienna 4225.
Bob Hall became the Museum’s first full time employee in April 1971. As a volunteer Bob had been heavily involved in the restoration of Leicester 76 and was to play a pivotal role in many future civil engineering projects. He was also responsible for the overhead line both as a volunteer and an employee.
In 1969 and 1970 trams had been operated on weekdays for pre-booked parties, mainly of school children and demand was increasing so that in 1971 mid-week running was formalised. The Museum was open from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in June, July and August. Two trams were operated with five staff, a member in charge, two drivers and two conductors. The school buses tended to arrive together so the first party was ushered to tram 1 and the second to tram 2. When they returned the driver of tram 1 would show his party round the depots as would the conductor of tram 2. This left a crew for the next party by which time hopefully the first driver would be back. It should also me mentioned that conductors collected cash fares either from the teachers or sometimes individual fares of 5p from the children.
On Saturdays the Museum was open from 2:00 pm until 7:30 pm and on Sundays the Museum opened from 11:00 am until 7:30 pm. Again all fares were collected in cash by the conductors (10p for adults and 5p for children). An interesting feature of Sundays was the use of Vienna 4225 and Leeds 600 between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on alternate weeks as their high power consumption precluded their use during the busy afternoon when several trams were needed.
104. Glasgow 1100 and Vienna 4225 at the still unfenced Town End.
105. Leeds 600 on the depot fan.
A wooden hoarding was erected behind the bookshop which was covered with vintage posters. A hand operated printing press together with a gas fire and gas lights were installed in the traffic office which was renamed Caxton House.
Oporto 9 had been used as a peak hour trailer behind electric cars in Oporto and had arrived at Crich in 1964 in ‘as withdrawn’ condition in a rather uninspiring yellow ochre livery. It also had advertising boards for Sandeman’s Port who had sponsored part of the transport costs. During the winter of 1970-71 it was repainted in a typical horse car livery of the day. In August members of an amateur dramatic society posed in period costume for publicity photographs.
It should be noted that apart from a coat of varnish Oporto 9 has received little attention since 1971 whereas Sheffield 15 was to receive significant workshop attention in the 1990s. Glasgow 22 re-entered service in August after a two year break having had its lower deck side panels replaced and a partial repaint.
106. Oporto 9 and Sheffield 15. The progress made with paving stones and setts can clearly be seen. Caxton House on the left looks very similar today but the engine shed on the right has been demolished.
107. The bookshop with the wooden hoarding behind it and early gas lamps can be seen on this picture.
108. Looking northwards, the points which lead to Depot A can be seen as can the framework for the workshop extension.
109. A more general view clearly showing both the stone workshop and the workshop extension.
110 and 111. Two pictures of Glasgow 1115 speeding through Cabin Crossing in August 1971.
112. Glasgow 1115 in October.
113. Sheffield 510 in October.
The by now customary Extravaganza was held over August Bank Holiday weekend. The following statistics were reported: 173 volunteers, 10 service trams, 900 free dinners, 11 portable radios, 400 exhibitors, 27,500 visitors, 2 known complaints. An example of the scale of the event was that coaches bringing visitors had to park two miles away at Lea. Local members of the Omnibus Society organised transport of drivers to and from the Museum and recalling passengers at the end of their visit. A heavy rainstorm in the middle of Sunday afternoon resulted in many visitors’ cars having to be towed by Land Rovers from fields used for parking.
114 and 115. In September Jimmy Saville, a well known TV presenter and disc jockey, visited the Museum in September 1971. He is a native of Leeds and was delighted to be offered the controls of Leeds 180.
The trams which ran in service in 1971 were Blackpool 2, 49, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, 1297, Leeds 180, 600, Prague 180, Sheffield 46, 189, 264, 510 and Vienna 4225.
Early in 1971 the Society was offered a bandstand from Stretford near Manchester. It was dismantled by a small group of volunteers with the aid of a Land Rover between January and May. During the summer the base and the uprights were re-erected at Crich and it was used as an open air band platform at the Extravaganza. During the winter of 1971-72 the roof was added.
116. A 1972 view of the completed bandstand. Note the path across the track was further north than it is now.
Early in 1972 the Museum bought a redundant 100kw rotary convertor and its associated polished slate switch panel from the London Brick Company. This was installed in the power house where it still exists in working order. A 250 kva silicon transformer rectifier was also purchased from the Walsall trolleybus system and placed into store until such time as a suitable electricity supply became available.
117. A recent view of the rotary converter in the power house.
The Society’s President, Chaceley Humpidge, died suddenly in June. On Sunday, July 9th 1972, the tram service was operated by Sheffield cars and 264 ran with black drapes and a black pennant flying at half mast on the trolley rope.
The Tramways Committee presented a report on proposals for ‘new’ buildings. The report advocated the acquisition of a Victorian pub which could serve as a cafe and also old style shops for which it was hoped commercial sponsors could be found. The most immediate project was the reconstruction of the facade of Derby Assembly Rooms with work to start as early as that autumn. The report was approved and the facade was dismantled stone by stone and transported to Crich during the summer and autumn. By the end of the year the concrete footings had been completed. This project was funded by Derby Borough Council. The stonework which had formed the facade of the tramways office and the adjacent Yorkshire Bank was donated by Nelson Corporation and stored in Field House field.
118. The Assembly Rooms during the winter of 1972/73.
Trackwork had continued. The track in Depot III was re-laid and filled with concrete to the rail head. This became the first depot to have a level floor. The corresponding track fan was re-laid with proper drainage and an overhead wire was positioned above each track but not inside the depot. As the track was re-laid, granite setts were also laid. Fire alarms were installed in the depots for the first time. The workshop was virtually complete and was fitted with metal concertina doors and an oil fired heating system ready for the winter.
Work continued on Southampton 45 and Sheffield 15 was re-varnished. Blackpool 40 was the centre of attention was as many as a dozen volunteers working on it some weekends. 40 entered service in September following a sherry party on 20th August. The estimated cost of materials was £2,000. Blackpool 166 arrived at Crich in June and work started immediately. The unrestored MET 331 was mounted on its own bogies and connected electrically to enable some test runs. It was demonstrated to the LRTL in September. Blackpool & Fleetwood 2 was rewired and Sheffield 330 was repainted. Work had been progressing on Leeds 602 for many years and it entered service on Saturday, 30th September following a beer and bun party. An Ultimate ticket machine was borrowed from Derby Corporation for the weekend as 602 didn’t belong to the Bell Punch era. LCC 1 arrived at Crich in December from the former London Transport Museum at Clapham. It was reported to be Britain’s heaviest tram at nearly 21 tons.
119. Blackpool 40 in service in September 1972.
120. MET 331 on a test run.
121 and 122. A resplendent Leeds 602 on September 30th 1972 immediately prior to entering service that afternoon.
A new record was made on Tuesday, 27th June 1972 when Blackpool 49 and Glasgow 812 carried about 1,760 children and teachers, taking about £75 in 5p fares. Extravaganza traffic was also at record levels with a total of 20,004 passengers. It should be mentioned that the admission price to the Extravaganza did not include tram rides and all fares were collected in cash by the conductors. A new feature of the Extravaganza was a static tramway exhibition in Depot III. The rear wall was draped with destination blinds and six trams were displayed: Leeds 2 and 602, Leicester 76, Oporto 9, Paisley 68 and Oporto 9. Each car had a brief description of its history in front of it.
123. Extravaganza – a Field Marshall tractor arriving with the control tent in the background.
124. Extravaganza – a balloon ascent by intrepid aviators was an important attraction at early extravaganzas. Hot air balloons were quite a novelty then.
125. Extravaganza – this LGOC Dennis was used to take volunteers to Matlock for an evening meal one year.
16 trams were used in service in 1972: Blackpool 2, 40, 49, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, 1297, Leeds 180, 600, 602, Sheffield 46, 189, 264, 510 and Vienna 4225.
The Museum had its first royal visitor on Monday 14th August 1972 when HRH Prince William of Gloucester, cousin of the Queen, paid an informal visit which lasted about 40 minutes. The Price had recently been appointed President of the East Midlands Tourist Board and was on a tour of the area. Prince William drove Leicester 76 to Wakebridge and then toured the depots and workshop. Little did we know that a mere fortnight later Prince William would be killed in an air accident and his younger brother, Richard, would later become Patron of the Tramway Museum Society.
126. Prince William alighting from Leicester 76. On the left is Chairman, Geoff Hyde, with his back to the camera is Driver, Roger Benton and on the platform is Secretary, Geoffrey Claydon.
Tony Bacon became the Museum’s second full time paid employee during 1973. He retained his positions as Workshop Superintendant and Mechanical Engineer.
From the start of electric tramcar operation in 1964, visitors had been offered return rides to and from Town End with no one being allowed to alight at the far end of the line. However the introduction of VAT resulted in a change of policy whereby passengers were allowed, but not encouraged to alight at Wakebridge. Wooden ramps were built at Wakebridge and an ex-Leeds request tram stop was erected opposite the oil stores (now the Craft Cottage). A former Bradford taxi drivers’ shelter had been donated in 1972 and this was installed at Wakebridge. Over the years it has been moved twice but it is still at Wakebridge. It is in a reasonable state of repair but some of the woodwork needs replacing. If anyone would like to volunteer for this please contact Lynda Wright at Lynda.Wright@tramway.co.uk .
Starting in 1970 the Peak District Mines Historical Society created a Derbyshire lead mining display at Wakebridge. At first this could only be seen from the trams but from 1973 visitors could have a closer look. The mining display has been maintained and developed over the years by the PDMHS and is staffed most Sundays.
128 and 129. The Tramway Museum Society has published a quarterly magazine, The Journal, since 1961. These two pictures were published in the October 1973 issue.
130 and 131. Recent views at Wakebridge of the Bradford taxi shelter and the PDMS lead mining display.
The big event of April and May was the filming of sequences for an ITV television film, Shabby Tiger based on a novel by Howard Spring. A set was built in front of the stone workshop and Johannesburg 60 and Blackpool 49 were disguised to resemble Manchester trams 717 and 327. Most of the filming was during the day but there were some night time scenes. One of which entailed 717 coming down the line and reversing quickly at Town End so as to be seen again going back up the line. TMS members familiar with turning trolleys and releasing back hand brakes were equipped with a powerful torch to see the wire and told to turn it as fast as you can whilst the driver ran to the other end. Denis Higgins and Keith Chadbourne, both natives of Manchester, spent a whole week at the Museum to act as drivers or conductors when required.
132. This picture of Sheffield 264 was taken the day before filming began and gives an idea of the size of the set.
133. Johannesburg 60 as Manchester 717.
134. Blackpool 49 as Manchester 327.
135. Another general view of the film set.
136. A posed photograph of the principle actors in the film.
Work on building the Assembly Rooms had continued throughout the winter and spring until early May when the scaffolding was removed and work postponed until autumn. During May an exhibition called Trams and Royalty was set up using the area immediately in front of the partially complete Assembly Rooms for an outdoor display. The space between the buttresses was used for indoor exhibits. The area was fenced off with a wooden fence and a small charge was made for admission.
Between August 1971 and February 1973 over 200 tons of virtually unworn straight rail in good lengths was acquired from Bulwell and Trent Bridge depots in Nottingham. The stone workshop track was reconnected to the depot fan in January and a wash bay for trams was constructed which had a concrete floor, a water supply, moveable wooden gantries and, most importantly, drains. The track in Depot IV was realigned and later in the year the floor was concreted. All the site preparation and shuttering was done by volunteers. Ready-mix concrete was delivered to the appropriate track on the depot fan and then a simple hand operated hopper wagon was used to transfer the wet concrete to the required location where volunteers were waiting with shovels and shuffle boards. Following this the track to Derwent View was reconnected (This area is now occupied by the traverser). Later in the year preparations were made for concertina doors for Depot II and the overhead wire was modified to negotiate the cross beams.
Glasgow 1297 received a repaint and a coat of varnish during the winter. Blackpool & Fleetwood (rack) 2 received a thorough electrical and mechanical overhaul early in 1973. During the following winter the interior was refurbished with old scumble paint being scraped from the ceiling to reveal the original light and dark woodwork. Leicester 76 spent several weeks in the workshop when the staircases were stripped and repainted. Work had continued on Leeds 399 at the back of Depot V including new upper deck wooden seats made from pitch pine from the former Woodhouse Moor Methodist Church in Leeds. Tony Bacon was establishing a formal maintenance programme in the new workshop and noted 23 outstanding jobs on Sheffield 264. Blackpool 166 had its bogies stripped down and cleaned and the wheels reprofiled by British Rail at Doncaster. On one occasion a team of eight volunteers were employed on the bodywork: two preparing frames, two gluing these frames, two nailing slats in position and finally two removing surplus glue from the finished product. 166 was reunited with its bogies on 17th February 1974.
140. Blackpool 166 on 17th February 1974. Note the flight of steps in the background. This bank side was later removed to make way for the exhibition hall.
The Extravaganza tram service was operated with four pairs of two double deckers and Rack 2 and Sheffield 46 operating Cabin Specials (a shuttle service from Cabin to Town End slotted in between service cars). Air displays were organised by the Northern Aircraft Preservation Society including a Lancaster and a Spitfire. There were also modern Jet Provosts giving displays of aerobatics and formation flying. The narrow gauge railway was modernised and extended using a battery electric locomotive rather than the steam engine, Pixie, which had been used in previous years.
141. One of the two new narrow gauge railway carriages. The railway was only used at Extravaganza weekends and some of the track still exists to confuse future historians.
142. Competition for the trams was provided by two Paris buses dating from the mid-193os.
143. For the first time a bus service was provided to the outlying car parks. The bus is a Midland General Bristol MW.
144. Special postal covers were also a feature of many Extravaganzas.
For an experimental period of seven weekends a combined admission – tram ride – exhibition ticket system was introduced. The price was 25p for adults and 15p for children and car parking was included. Specially printed tickets were sold at the entrance and cancelled by the conductors. Additional tram rides were chargeable. This experiment was judged a success and became permanent in 1974.
15 passenger trams were used in 1973: Blackpool 2, 40, 49, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, 1297, Leeds 180, Leicester 76, Prague 180, Sheffield 46, 264, 510 and Vienna 4225.
An Extraordinary General Meeting was held in January 1974 to consider a report by professional fund raisers known as the Wells Organisation. After a lively debate the meeting adopted a resolution “that this meeting recognising the desirability of the Society adopting a development programme to enable the works and other improvements listed in the table to the Wells Report be carried out, gives general approval to the proposals contained in the Report for raising funds to meet that programme”. Following this Mr Gamble of the Wells Organisation commenced a three month tour of duty as a part-time fund raising organiser and a Steering Group was set up in July with a view to producing a fund raising brochure.
In November 1973 a small team of TMS members had dismantled the wrought iron gates at the entrance to the private roadway to Marylebone Station in London. This work had been carried out between midday on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon when the hired lorry set off for Bonwell Street to collect some slot rail and then for Crich. The gates were re-erected at Town End during 1974.
145. The Marylebone Gates being re-erected at Town End early in 1974. The Birmingham tram shelter can be seen in the background.
Work by contractors on the Assembly Rooms had re-started during the winter and was completed in the spring. A new exhibition called Trams and Speed was then set up using some of the outside exhibits from 1973. Routine maintenance was carried out during the winter on the main line track and overhead. Concertina doors were fitted to Depots II and III and the wooden doors were moved from Depot III to V resulting in all the depots having doors for the first time.
146. Doors have been fitted to Depot II but not yet to Depot V when this picture was taken late in 1974. The former Leeds tram stop erected in 1973 can be seen to the right of Leeds 180.
Turning to the trams, Southampton 45 was replaced by Blackpool 166 in the stone workshop so that 166 could be painted. Glasgow 812 spent some time in the workshop for general repairs including welding sheet steel to the dash panels. Leeds 180 took its place in the workshop for a new lower saloon floor and a truck overhaul. Oporto 9 had spent the previous summer out of doors as part of the Trams & Royalty exhibition and its paintwork received some attention.
MET 331 had been placed on accommodation bogies in September 1974 so that its own could be restored. The trucks were stripped down and renovated in the workshop and its wheels were re-profiled by British Rail Engineering. It was the first time that roller bearing axle boxes had been dismantled and restored at Crich. All low current wiring was renewed, the air brake, sanding equipment and life guards were renovated and the car’s underside was de-rusted and painted. Its traction motors were found to be in good order but the main body suspension units were badly worn and grease nipples were fitted to the new ones. 331 made several test runs in September. Blackpool 166 entered service on 18th August following a celebration party the previous day.
147. Allan Sellars at the controls of Blackpool 166 on 17th August 1975.
148. Blackpool 166 and Rack 2 on arrival at Wakebridge. The temporary wooden ramps installed in 1974 to allow passengers to alight can clearly be seen.
149. Some of the guests at 166’s party.
150. Keith Terry posing in the style of a formal photograph of 166 when new in 1927.
Admission prices were raised in October to 30p for adults and 20p for children. Admission money was collected on the roadway to the car park and Ultimate tickets were issued. These included one tram ride and were cancelled by tram conductors who also issued a traditional punch ticket in exchange.
As an aside the following trams were stored at Clay Cross at the end of 1974: Blackpool box 40, Cardiff 131, Derby 1, Howth 10, Gateshead 52, Grimsby & Immingham 14, Newcastle 102 and the steam tram engine.
13 passenger trams were used in 1974: Blackpool 2, 40, 166, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, 1297, Leicester 76, Prague 180, Sheffield 189, 264 and Vienna 4225.
In February 1975 a volunteer working party dismantled the gates from the Birmingham Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Markets and transported them to Crich for future use. Some 70 tons of small stones was used to grade the entrance slope from the Marylebone Gates to the Assembly Rooms. This area was asphalted later in the year. A new entrance was made for Cliffe Cottage (now known as Poplar House) separated by a stone wall and Birmingham railings.
151. The Birmingham Gates as delivered to Town End with Richard Hartwell and Michael Davies in the foreground. The diesel engine on the right is GMJ.
152. The Birmingham shelter at Town End early in 1975 after the slope had been graded but before asphalting.
153. Mrs Gladys Poplar, the tenant of Cliffe Cottage, looks on as the entrance to her home is reconstructed. The Assembly Rooms can be seen in the background.
Another winter 74/75 project was improvements to the public entrance which was a muddy path alongside the top road leading to a short flight of steps where the Red Lion is now. Between November and March, volunteers laid kerbstones alongside the roadway and the top of the bank side to enclose 10 tons of small stones which had to be levelled before contractors asphalted it just before Easter.
154. Harry Barnett and Richard Lomas working on the entrance path.
155. The entrance hut prior to asphalting. Admission fees were collected from cars before parking at that time.
156. The entrance and the car park later in the year.
157. Frank Scothern who worked as gate attendant for many years.
Work continued on installing overhead wires in Depot III and concertina doors replaced the wooden ones of Depot IV. The drum clock was added to the side of the stone workshop and has remained there until the present day. Field Cottage was acquired through the good offices of the late John Price. The major winter 1975/76 project was track reconstruction at Wakebridge to convert the ‘Y’ into a passing loop with a siding.
Noisy trams and wear of both the rails and wheel flanges in dry weather were becoming a source of concern. Simple remedies such as running Sheffield 330 to water the track or manually applying grease to the sides of the rail groove were only partially successful. Welding to build up the check rail was tried unsuccessfully. Track lubricators or automatic grease applicators were however often attached to the rails of sharply curved railway branch lines. The manufacturers were contacted and their technical director confirmed that they could be modified for tram rail and suggested that just north of Cabin Crossing was the best location. As far as was known, this was the first installation of such lubricators on tram section rail in the UK, and was the first modern purposely manufactured tramway equipment put to use at Crich. They remained in use for more than 30 years when they were replaced with similar but more compact units.
Four trams were moved in the second week of March 1975. Newcastle 102 moved from the Clay Cross store to Crich and then Blackpool 02 provided a return load. Next was DHMD 1 which moved from the former British Transport Museum at Clapham to Crich and finally Blackpool 1 (now 4) moved from Clapham to Clay Cross. In July Blackpool 59 (the Dreadnought) was moved from Clay Cross to Blackpool and displayed on the Prom to raise funds for Blackpool Civic Trust’s restoration plan. Blackpool Coronation 641 (now 304) provided a return load.
158 and 159. Newcastle 102 arriving from Clay Cross.
160. Blackpool 02 being pulled out of Depot IV by GMJ prior to its exile in Clay Cross.
161. Blackpool 59 back at home on Blackpool Promenade.
Turning to the trams themselves, Glasgow W21 was displayed outside the Assembly Rooms as part of the Trams and Strife exhibition. DHMD 1 arrived in full working order and made a test run on 20th April. Some work was required on Newcastle 102 but it entered service on 21st June following a launching ceremony. During the winter work had been carried out on the north platform of Glasgow 1100 followed by a partial repaint. Sheffield 264 had some temporary repairs just before the Extravaganza and then was lifted from its truck in the autumn. New lino was fitted in the lower saloon and the platforms early in 1976. Work continued on Leeds 180 and Southampton 45. Glasgow 22 received a truck overhaul during the winter of 1975/76. Although not strictly a tram, a wheel lathe was acquired on loan from British Steel Corporation and placed in store at Clay cross.
162. Preparations for the Trams and Strife exhibition with Glasgow W21 in the background.
163. DHMD’s test run, with John Markham at the controls, leaving Depot II which now has doors and overhead wires but the floor is still rough stones and sleepers.
164. DHMD 1 outside the bookshop. The visitors’ sloping entrance path can be seen to the left of the tram.
165. DHMD 1 approaches Wakebridge where there was concern that it might not negotiate the points.
166. Newcastle 102 driven by John Henderson passing Cabin on its inaugural run to Wakebridge.
16 passenger trams were used in 1975: Blackpool 2, 40, 49, 166, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, Leeds 180, 602, Leicester 76, Newcastle 102, Prague 180, Sheffield 189, 264 and Vienna 4225.
The following pictures were taken on the same day featuring most of the trams that were operable in 1975.
168. Blackpool rack 2 driven by Denis Higgins.
169. Blackpool 40 driven by Ken Holdsworth.
170. Blackpool 166 driven by Maurice O’Connor.
171. DHMD 1 followed by Prague 180.
172. Glasgow 812.
173. Glasgow 1297.
174. Leeds tower 2 with Malcolm Wright on the step.
175. Leeds 602.
176. Leicester 76 driven by Richard Clarke.
177. Newcastle 102 driven by John Henderson.
178. Sheffield 264 driven by Roger Mercer.
179. Sheffield 330.
180. Vienna 4225 driven by Kath Lomas.
181. A crowded Wakebridge in May 1976 with the new passing loop in use. The next few years were to see tremendous changes at the Museum with the Job Creation Programs to restore several trams and to extend the line from Wakebridge to Glory Mine.
1976, 1977 and 1978 proved to be momentous years in the development of the Tramway Museum with the Job Creation Programmes for tramcar restoration and the extension of the running line to Glory Mine establishing the framework of today’s museum.
1976 started with changes in the catering department. Dennis and Shirley Hall relinquished their catering contract and catering was brought in house with John Henderson’s mother, Rita Paxton as full-time salaried manager. This brought the number of full-time employees to three.
The last of the extensions to the main depot complex were planned for 1976/77. Depot IV was extended 15 feet rearwards making it the same length as Depot III and Depot VI was added to the side of Depot V. As before contractors built the depot shells but volunteers had to clear the site, lay track, concrete floors and install electrical wiring etc. When the contractors left Depot VI presented an empty expanse of uneven ground. It was planned to be an exhibition hall fed by a traverser. To achieve a remarkable degree of flexibility a unique track layout was devised with six vignoles rails each 4’8½” apart. A new form of track construction was employed using the more badly worn pieces of rail as cross members and laying the running rails at right angles on top. The whole assembly was then welded together, placed in position, and set in concrete. Finally, Depot VI received the wooden doors from Depot IV.
182. A winter view of the Museum early in 1976.
183. Part of the Assembly Rooms and Glasgow W21 early in 1976. W21 was moved to Wakebridge later in the year.
184. Depot V before the construction of Depot VI. The spare wooden doors from Depot IV can be seen leaning on the right behind the crane.
185 and 186. Blackpool 158 in front of the newly built Depot VI late in 1976.
187. The nearly complete Depot VI. The evenly spaced rails can clearly be seen.
188. Depots V and VI in September 2010.
During the winter of 1975/76 toilets were constructed in archways at either side of the Assembly Rooms. These are still in use and were refurbished in the winter of 2009/10. The Engine Shed floor was concreted during 1976 and a few machine tools were installed. Work continued on re-laying the track in Depot II with tram rail and then concreting the floor. By the end of 1976 overhead wire had been erected over all three tracks in Depots II, III and IV. The now familiar isolating switches and live line indicator lights were part of this project. The new track layout including a passing loop and a siding at Wakebridge was brought into use at the beginning of the season initially with open track. During the summer the area was filled to the rail head with stone chippings.
189. Wakebridge in May 1976. Sheffield 264 and Glasgow 812 negotiate the new track.
190. Wakebridge in May 1976. Tram jam – Leeds 602, Leeds 2, Prague 180, Sheffield 330, 510, 264 and Glasgow 1115, 812.
A question at the AGM in May revealed that the Wells fund raising project had incurred fees of £3,883 and £3,602 with little to show for this expenditure. Prior to the AGM, the Tramcar Restoration Committee had presented a report to the members of the Tramway Museum Society. “To illustrate the extent of the problem of car restoration facing us a few figures may help: there are 38 trams under cover at Crich, there are 10 trams under cover at Clay Cross, and there are 4 others outside at Clay Cross. We can expect another 4 others to arrive in the next 5 years and there are probably 8 more additions to this commitment making a total of 64 tramcars, this excluding any service vehicles. Of this total approximately 15 have been restored leaving a residue of 49. Being optimistic we can turn out one each year ... it will be 2025 before the last one is restored, by which time... the first will be ready to restore again.” (This proved to be an over optimistic assessment.)
The following ideas to improve on this situation were put forward for discussion: increase the number of competent volunteers, increase the number of permanent staff, use contractors to supply components, use contractors to carry out specific tasks, take up offers of outside assistance which may arrive, encourage groups of members to undertake voluntary homework jobs.
Returning to the real world, Glasgow 22 received a truck overhaul during the winter of 1975/76 and a new platform at the north end. Both dash panels were repaired by welding inserts as had been done on 812. Glasgow 1100 & 1115 and Sheffield 189 & 264 were placed on restricted mileage in order to defer major overhauls. Glasgow 1100 had some repairs to one vestibule and was fitted with the pantograph it had experimentally carried in Glasgow. During the spring, Newcastle 102 was lifted and its bogies stripped down for attention to the wheel sets. Vienna 4225 was fitted with 2 trolley poles in place of it pantograph. Work continued on Southampton 45 which had new dash panels fitted and heavy repairs to its staircases. It was mechanically and electrically complete and made several test runs later in the year. Glasgow 1297 had an interior repaint and Leeds 602 was repaired following a derailment resulting in body damage. Blackpool 59 which had been displayed on the Promenade during 1975 was taken to the local technical college where it was restored to a condition which met the operational requirements of Blackpool Transport. It was transferred to Rigby Road depot in the spring of 1976 and made its debut in a procession on Saturday 26th June.
191. Wakebridge in August 1976. Newcastle 102 – note the track has now been filled to rail head level and there is a trolley reverser on the right of the picture.
192. Glasgow 22 back in service at Wakebridge with Sheffield 189 in the siding.
193. Glasgow 1100 at Town End at the 1976 Extravaganza.
Manchester 765 returned to Crich on 24th June 1976. The body of Manchester combination car number 765 had been found on a farm high in the Yorkshire moors above Huddersfield and was moved to Crich in June 1960. It was placed on sleepers alongside the main line next to Leicester 99. By 1962 it was realised that proper restoration could not be carried out in the open at Crich and enquiries were made in the Manchester area for covered accommodation. On 20th July 1963, the body shell left Crich for the premises of Chorlton Haulage Co in Manchester. Bogies were acquired from the Hill of Howth and motors from a Blackpool works car. In October 1965 it was moved to Birchfields Road bus garage, in 1970 to a warehouse in Trafford Park and finally in 1972 to Frederick Road depot in Salford. On arrival at Crich it was stored in Depot III and made a successful trial run to Wakebridge in October.
194a and 194b. Southampton 45 in August 1975.
194c. Southampton 45 on a test run in 1976.
195. Manchester 765 on arrival at Crich on 24th June coupled to the diesel engine GMJ. Glasgow W21 can just be seen on the left behind the shelter. The Assembly Rooms facade seen with the new toilets but no windows on the first or second floors.
196. Manchester 765 at the staff post on the same day.
197. This view of 765 shows the uneven surfaces of the depot fan and the former Leeds tram stop.
198. Royal visit - formal introductions at Town End. From the left David Senior, Maurice O’ Connor, Winstan Bond, Geoff Hyde, Geoffrey Claydon, HRH, Major Walker.
199. The royal tram passing trams lined up for the procession.
200. Merlyn Bacon, HRH, Graham Feakins. Blackpool 166 is carrying the royal coat of arms.
201. The cafe just before lunch.
202. A shabby Johannesburg 60 in 1973 after the filming for Shabby Tiger.
203. Johannesburg 60 on completion in October 1976.
Improvements had been to the power supply with both the rotary convertor and the Paxman diesel generator now backed up by a larger set of traction batteries. This and the new tack layout at Wakebridge enabled 12 cars to be operated on Extravaganza Monday.
14 passenger trams were used in 1976. Blackpool 2, 40, 166, Glasgow 22, 812, 1100, 1115, 1297, Leeds 602, Newcastle 102, Prague 180, Sheffield 189, 264, 510.
Most of the following pictures were taken by Graham Feakins at the 1976 Extravaganza and give an impression of the Museum in 1976.
204. The narrow gauge railway with Steve Harrop at the controls.
205. Blackpool 166 passing through the quarry.
206. Sheffield 510 using the first trolley reverser at Wakebridge. The lorries were delivering a load of clay to line the Mining Display’s pond.
207. Sheffield 510 on the wash bay with a broken window.
208. Sheffield 189 leaving Town End.
210. Rack 2’s controller flashed over during the Extravaganza. From left John Henderson, Denis Higgins on handbrake, Nigel Walker and Tony Bacon holding the controller.
211. John Markham has joined the group on the left.
212. Glasgow 812 and the depot fan.
213. This appears to be the bogie from a Blackpool coronation car. But what is it doing outside the workshop at Crich?
214. A young Bob Docherty having a ride on Newcastle 102 with his parrot.
215. Derby trolleybus number 215 on display outside the Assembly Rooms.
216. Looking down at the Museum from Crich Stand.
1997 was the year of Job Creation. A second workshop scheme ran from February to September and later in the year the third and fourth schemes until March 1978 and December 1978 were agreed. Work started on Gateshead 5 in August 1976. Its trucks were in poor condition and were stripped down and rebuilt. The windows and exterior panels were removed and replaced or refurbished. The interior was refurbished in the ornate Gateshead pattern and the car was rewired. New air tanks were delivered in April and 5 made its debut on Members’ Day in May 1977.
217 and 218. Two views of the partially competed Gateshead 5 early in 1977.
219. The first two ‘Job Creation’ cars at Wakebridge in the summer of 1977 with Prague 180 in the background.
Blackpool 49 was the third Job Creation project with work starting towards the end of 1976. Its trucks required no major work other than armature work and wheel profiling. On the body a distorted body side was corrected, under frame cross members and the lower saloon floor were replaced. The car was rewired throughout, the entire interior was renovated and the lower deck seats were reupholstered. The exterior was repainted in the green and cream livery it still carries and it entered service on 25th June.
Glasgow 1282 entered the workshop early in February and was recognised to be the most demanding job yet. It was lifted from its trucks using specially designed brackets and the trucks were stripped down. All the top deck body panels were removed and replaced as necessary after repairs to the frame. The lower saloon and under frame were tackled next. Extensive corrosion necessitated the replacement of many components and extensive welding. The main body posts were replaced as were both driving cabs and platform areas. The controllers and the electrical contactor units were overhauled and the car was completely rewired. 1282 was reunited with its trucks early in December and made its first test run on December 15th. Scottish members were deeply involved in this project carrying out research and producing working drawings.
220 – 222. Three views of Blackpool 49 and Glasgow 1282 in the workshop.
223a. Blackpool 49 in August 1973 – the last season it ran in the red livery.
223b. The newly restored Blackpool 49 on the washbay four years later.
Paisley 68 was the fifth Job Creation project and entered the workshop in September. Its truck was overhauled without problems but corrosion was found on the body under frame. The components of the steam tram returned to Crich on 15th November. Another Job Creation project was the horse drawn tower wagon. Manchester 765 received a touch up and varnish job by the Job Creation team. It entered service after a launch party on 30th April.
Leeds 602 was decorated to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It will be remembered that 602 was delivered in Coronation year and carries a livery of Royal Purple. Newcastle 102 was withdrawn following an accident early in July. Work continued with the paintwork on Southampton 45 and Blackpool 166 had its paintwork renovated.
224. Manchester 765 and Johannesburg 60 on the depot fan.
225. Blackpool 166 being used as a mobile bandstand at the 1977 Extravaganza.
226. Leeds 602 standing in Depot II in August 1977. Note that the overhead line is in place but that not quite all of the depot floor has been concreted.
The hand crane was rebuilt during the winter of 1976-77 using the existing crane mechanism with detailed enhancements on a newly fabricated steel truck, with wheelsets from Liverpool and rubber suspension blocks from a Blackpool coronation tram.
227. The truck for the ‘new’ crane. The old crane can be seen in picture 184 above.
228. The new crane in use at Wakebridge.
229. Depots V and VI looking very neat.
230. A recent view of the Brush falcon in the exhibition hall.
Detailed plans were drawn up showing the earthworks required through what was described as hostile territory. The Manpower Services Commission approved a grant of £38,000 for another Job Creation Programme to construct the line once the way had been cleared. A committee consisting of Maurice O’Connor, Michael Davis, Bob Hall and Richard Hartwell was set up to co-ordinate the work with Bob having responsibility for day to day matters. The work was planned to be undertaken between June 1977 and March 1978 with an estimated 700 man weeks work. Messrs Tomlinson and White were awarded the earth moving contact and started work immediately after Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Explosives were used on about 40 feet of bed rock. The contract also included spreading and levelling five inch ballast underlay on the whole of the track formation. The route has a maximum gradient of 1 in 30.
231 – 233. Three pictures of the bulldozer at work.
234. Looking down the newly bulldozed route with Blackpool 49 at Wakebridge terminus in the back ground.
A preliminary team of eight men started work under the Job Creation Scheme on 13th June and their first task was to establish a base camp at Wakebridge. The Bradford shelter was used as a mess room and two ex-BR box vans were acquired for storage. Rail was taken from the stock pile in the car park and welded together into 60 foot lengths. All the stock of traction poles was stripped, cleaned and painted as was ex-Nottingham scroll work for the bracket arms. An appeal for funds to purchase good quality concrete sleepers had been launched and the first had been received and placed in position by the end of August when the labour force had grown to 13.
Pic 236 and 237. Two views looking down towards Wakebridge in the autumn of 1977.
By the end of November, the track and sleepers had been laid as far as the beginning of Glory Mine loop. Traction poles had been erected alongside the line and bracket arms complete with ornamental work were being added. The body of Glasgow W21 was moved to Wakebridge for use as an electricians workshop.
In addition to the track the project included the construction of a new electrical sub-station. Agreement had been reached with the East Midlands Electricity Board for an 11 kV supply and both EMEB and TMS switch gear were to be housed in different parts of the same building. The ex Walsall transformer rectifier unit was to be installed at track level above the building. By the end of November the inner walls built from Aglite blocks was complete and work was in hand on the stone built outer walls.
Pics 238. The impressive looking new track half way up the hill. The new line opened up wonderful views of the Derbyshire countryside.
239. Looking down the line from Glory Mine.
240. Looking up the line towards Glory Mine.
241. The beginnings of Glory Mine loop.
242. A recent view of Wakebridge sub-station.
Two additional Job Creation projects were approved for 1978 for improvements to Visitor Reception and for an Edwardian Street, but more of these later.
Admission prices in 1977 were 50p adults and 30p children. These were increased for 1978 to 60p Adults and 40p children. During 1977, a series of Operations Handbooks mainly for tram crews were prepared by Gwynne Thomas and updated versions are still in use.
13 passenger trams were used in 1977. Blackpool 40, 49, 166, Gateshead 5, Glasgow 22, 1297, Johannesburg 60, Manchester 765, Newcastle 102, Prague 180, Sheffield 264, 510 and Vienna 4225.