Old Southampton Trams To Be Refurbed

Two trams which once carried passengers around the streets of Southampton are going to be fully restored.

The trams will then be displayed in a workshop based at the new Aeronautica Museum.

The museum will eventually replace the Solent Sky attraction.

The trams were moved by lorry for Southampton City Council's Heritage Collection to the new modern workshop on Wednesday August 24th 2011.

The new workshop will ensure that the restoration work can continue in more suitable accommodation. Eventually it is hoped the trams can be displayed in all their glory at the new museum site.

Also housed in the workshop are some of the ships which took part in the WWII Dunkirk evacuation.

Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet Member for Resources, Leisure and Culture at Southampton City Council:

"Southampton City Council remains committed to preserving its rich heritage, so future generations can see how the people of Southampton once lived and travelled across the city.

"The trams represent a bygone era, which thanks to the investment and work by Southampton City Council will thankfully not be forgotten."

The council says if people are interested in visiting the trams in their new workshop, they can do this either by appointment or at an open day, via Solent Sky.


Tram 11

One of the biggest problems for the Southampton Corporation Tramways was the severe height restriction of the Bargate arch.

Open top cars were originally used but were uncomfortable in inclement weather and were not without some danger for top deck passengers. The 1920's saw the first specially designed dome roofed cars with low profile rails to pass under the arch.

Tram 11 (dome topped) is the sole surviving 'Top-Covered Bargate' style tram in existence. Donated in January 1979 by Mr. J. Corbett. The Science museum gave grants covering approx 50% of the costs. Tram 11 was 1 of 5 built in Portswood between 1920-23.  She was originally no.3 in the series which went into service on April 13th 1923. Originally built as open top cars all five trams were converted in the following year into 'Dome-Cars'.

Tram 3 was taken out of service in November 1924, altered and renumbered Tram 11 on her return to service on January 22nd 1925. The upper deck had been lowered by one and a half inches and she had the domed roof and small wheeled truck which was to remain unique to Southampton trams.

Tram 11 was sold off in 1949 to be used as a children's playhouse and then as a donkey shed until 1979 when after being rescued by the City Museums her restoration was taken on by volunteers such as the Tram 57 group and students from the Technical College. This carried on apace until in recent years when storage facilities have made it impossible for the groups to continue.

Tram 38

Built in 1903 by Hurst, Nelson and Co. of Motherwell, Tram 38 was the first of twelve commissioned by Southampton Corporation Tramways. She was originally built as an open-top, 3-window uncanopied car with knifeboard seating on the upper deck and longitudinal window seating below. She carried up to 48 passengers originally but was altered several times in later years so as to carry a greater number.

Although currently dismantled, a survey of this rare Knife-board model revealed a very well preserved interior with many of the original fittings still intact including the original ruby glass ventilator windows. Sister to Tram No. 45 which is to be seen in Crich Tramway Museum, the intention was to increase her rarity by restoring Tram 38 to her earlier pre- First World War appearance. Grants from the Science Museum were intended to restore her to working order.

Tram 38 was purchased in August 1979 from Mr. J. Adams of Boldre who had used her as a summerhouse since 1948 when she came out of service. The Science Museum, AMSSEE and Southampton University provided grants with other monies from local businesses and the Tram 57 volunteer group and other youth training schemes were used to work on the tram.


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