Southport – Looking back to 1967 and the County Borough’s Centenary Celebrations

The other day I had the opportunity to purchase a booklet (originally priced at 2/6d. but I paid a fair bit more than that) celebrating transport in Southport County Borough in the 100 years from 1867 to 1967. Obviously I could not let the opportunity pass me by so I bought it. This is the cover:-

Inside it states – ‘Brochure issued by Southport Corporation Transport Department to commemorate the Borough’s Centenary Celebrations, 1967’ and back then the Borough Transport Committee had 2 Aldermen and 13 Councillors on it. If my understanding is correct there’s presently one Southport Councillor (John Dodd) on the Merseytravel Committee and that covers the whole of Merseyside! That’s some change indeed. Here’s the back cover of the booklet:-

The booklet traces the history of trams and buses in this 100 period and it is illustrated with many black and white photos but this page particularly interested me with it’s statistics:-

Southport like many towns and cities across the UK must now regret the fashion on getting rid of trams as they would make a great addition to the town as tourist destination in 2019. Of course Southport did have a pier tram until recent times as illustrated below:-

Southport Pier and its much missed pier tram

And here’s a photo I took not so long ago of a former Southport Corporation bus, now lovingly preserved:-

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

Birkdale – It’s tramway into Southport – An historic photo

Whilst at the Merseyside Transport Trust Open Day on 9th July I came across and purchased this photo of a horse drawn tram in Birkdale:-

Is this shot taken on Cemetery Road, Southport? Can it be dated by anyone?

Click on the scanned photo to enlarge it

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Here are links to my previous postings about Southport’s long-gone trams:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/01/12/southports-tramways/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/24/more-on-southports-trams-with-a-wallasey-twist/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/14/sefton-the-only-tramway-in-the-borough-southport-pier-tram/

Sadly since my May 2014 posting about Southport’s Pier Tram it has also ceased to run and been disposed of. I understand this was said to be the result of it being too heavy for the aging pier.

BTW – Are the 3 chaps in the photo my old friends and Birkdale Ward Councillors, Richard Hands, Simon Shaw and Iain Brodie Brown?:-)))

More on Southport’s trams with a Wallasey twist.

rsz_photo0611

rsz_photo0610

I posted about Southport’s trams not so long ago (12th January) and then quite by chance I found out about a meeting at the Greenbank Centre in deepest South Liverpool on 17th February run by the Tram and Light Railway Society. At the meeting a chap called Ron Phillips would be giving a presentation about Southport’s Tramways. I had to go of course.

A fascinating talk it was too and a few folk from far flung Southport even managed to get there.

Some interesting facts –

* A tram was ceremonially burned at Canning Road Depot on the last day of tram operation in the Town in 1934.

* Southport’s famous red and cream livery was introduced in 1919. I recall the fuss when sadly the buses lost that livery in the 1980’s.

* Southport is so flat that the usually two motored trams needed only one motor to run successfully.

* The photo’s above are are of hand made models of actual Southport Trams. With apologies for the poor quality of the photo’s which is my fault.

Our local tramway preservation society is based in Birkenhead; take a look at their web site linked below:-

www.mtps.co.uk/

My good friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker at Birkenhead Tramway Museum next to a restored Wallasey tram that he rode on as a boy.

My good friend Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker at Birkenhead Tramway Museum next to a restored Wallasey tram that he rode on as a boy.

Southport’s Tramways

There’s not a huge amount on the web about Southport’s former tramway system and I am talking here about the network of street trams not the Pier Tram which still happily trundles up and down Southport Pier. But there is a fascinating little book published by the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Trust ‘Merseyside Transport’ which with regard to Southport says this:-

rsz_photo0309

www.mtps.co.uk/

Southport’s tramway was really two systems, operated by a company and corporation until 1918, when they were rolled into one under municipal control. Southport Tramways Company opened the first lines with horse cars from Birkdale Station to Botanic Gardens via Roe Lane in 1873, and via Cambridge Road to Botanic Gardens in 1878.

A second tramway system was begum by the Birkdale and Southport Tramway Co. which opened lines from London Square to Kew Gardens in 1883 and a branch via Sefton St. to the Crown Hotel Birkdale in 1884. It goes on to give more details through to the last cars running on 31st December 1934.

I took the photo below on a visit to Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire back in 2008. It shows a large model of a Birkdale Station to London Square Tram:-

rsz_img_1774

www.tramway.co.uk/

Talking of models have a look at this link to fascinating model of Southport trams.

://blackpooltram.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/southport-in-day-of-tram.html

By the way the Lib Dem submission to Sefton Council’s recent 3 month consultation period on its draft Local Plan said this:-

The Pier Tram needs to be extended through the shopping area to Southport Station and on to Central 12 Retail Park.