Tram, Old Town Street 1945

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Featured in the Plymouth Extra in November 2007.

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WMN/1/1/1 Tram, Old Town Street, Plymouth, September 1945

"Had it not been for the war, who knows how long Plymouth might have maintained a tram service? When war was declared in September 1939 there were still 27 tram cars available for duty but "by the end of the war only four were serviceable… four of Stokes, Brown Bears, Numbers 154, 157, 158 and 165" (Martin Langley and Edwina Small., 'The Trams of Plymouth', 1990).

Thus, it was that when the war ended with VJ Day at the beginning of September 1945, the decision was taken to terminate Plymouth's tram service - on Saturday, September 29. Making that final, historic run from Old Town Street to Milehouse, via Peverell, was the tram we see here, the 158, which set off with 135 passengers at 5:30pm, half an hour after the 165 started out on its last journey. In the photograph (which comes courtesy of the South West Image Bank (01752 665445) ref: WMN/1/1/1) we see the 158 starting out from the makeshift terminal at the bottom of Old Town Street (the track between St Andrew's Cross and the old terminus by the original Theatre Royal had been rendered unusable by war damage).

Above the bus on the far left you can see the Mumford Garage at the top of St Andrew's Street, while behind the 158 we see the shells of St Andrew's, the Municipal Buildings and the Guildhall, with the Corn Exchange to our right."

(Commentary by Chris Robinson)

(Related material: see Tram, Bedford Vaults & Drake Circus, 1945)


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