London: Trams in their last years.  

Dewi Williams

Comments/corrections to: Dewi Williams

London: Trams in their last years

I would like to thank several people for sending me information about many of these pictures. Each person's contribution is flagged with a digit in brackets.

Blackfriars Bridge: Feltham tram on roadside track. It had turned right, off the Victoria Embankment, and was then just north of the bridge, heading south. The roof, and the sign, of Blackfriars Station can be seen on the right of the picture.
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
HR tram heading south on Blackfriars Bridge. St. Paul's cathedral in background, roof of Blackfriars station to the right of the tram.
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
Tram 1798, south bank, heading to Wimbledon via Tooting. The building in the background might be part of County Hall.
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
Feltham tram on new track, near site of Festival of Britain 
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
Insulator mounting, part of conduit track: older track joining onto new track for Festival of Britain. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
New pointwork, conduit track 
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
Tram in Aldwych tram station, Kingsway subway 
 Photographed on  1950-09-09
New conduit tramway track being built, south bank, in preparation for the Festival of Britain. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-08
New conduit tramway being built ready for Festival of Britain 
 Photographed on  1950-07-08
Tram 1762 on route 12. Note headlight cover: still in place after blackout in WWII. [6] 1762 was an E1 rebuilt as in this picture, and was withdrawn 10/1950
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
54 route tram, 36 route bus, Kennington, near Perlman Bros. building [37] at the corner of Camberwell New Road and Brixton Road. Photo taken from upstairs of tram: note "snail" in foreground.
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
tram on route 35 heading northwards. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Route 54 tram on the crossover in [1] Downham Way, Grove Park about to head back to Victoria. Note trolley pole already moved to northbound wire. Grove Park Station is a short way around the corner at the end of the road. The LCC had obtained powers in 1932 to extend the tramway from here to Eltham Green, (see picture c0191) This scene is still recognisable today.
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Enlargement of n07_3_2 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
route 72 tram heading to Beresford Sq. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Enlargement of bus stop in n06_3_3. Note that this shows bus routes and Green Line (coach) routes: no tram routes. (21, 36, 43: 704, . . .) 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Enlargement of tram in n06_3_3 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Tram 339 on route 46 to Beresford Square. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
New Cross depot: trams ready to leave for evening rush hour. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Tram leaving New Cross depot. Each is "flagged" out. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Plough-carrier on conduit tram, near New Cross depot. 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Manufacturer's plate, on tram shown in n06-4-1 
 Photographed on  1950-07-07
Feltham tram heading to Purley and Croydon, on Victoria Embankment: taken from Waterloo Bridge. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Tram on Victoria Embankment, just east of Waterloo Bridge. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Route 31 tram emerging from Kingsway subway, under Waterloo bridge, at Victoria Embankment 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Route 33 tram emerging from Kingsway subway, under Waterloo bridge, at Victoria Embankment 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Holborn tram station, Kingsway subway. Northbound 33-route tram, heading away from camera. But the headlight is lit on rear end of tram! 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Holborn tram station, Kingsway subway. Southbound 31-route tram, loading at platform. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Northern portal of Kingsway Subway: southbound 31-route tram descending ("diving") into subway. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
33-route tram no. 1996 heading to West Norwood: in Theobalds Road, about to turn into Southampton Row and dive into Kingsway Subway. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
New conduit track being laid south of Westminster Bridge (see the movie "Genevieve") for the 1951 Festival of Britain. Thi sis possibly the last conduit track to be laid, ever.  
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Detail of conduit track, s. of Westminster Bridge. Note the long yokes and short yokes. The conductor rails have not yet been installed. See also Collier's Magazine for 1905. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Special yoke for turnout: detail of conduit track, S. of Westminster Bridge. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Construction of a turnout in conduit tram track. Diversion driven through bombed-out area. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Close-up of turnout from n08_1_3 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Trams crossing Westminster Bridge.Houses of Parliament (i.e. Palace of Westminster) on the right of the photo, with part of the statue of Boedicea (Boudicca), who was a sort of real-life female Asterix and Obelix. 
 Photographed on  1950-09-01
Clapham: forcing bolt stuck in conduit slot. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Clapham: forcing bolt stuck in conduit slot. Enlargement of n14_4_6. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Removing extra ploughs from change-pit. Note converging conduits at right of picture: note child observing, in background. This may have been the Tooting change-pit at Longley Road.
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Removing extra ploughs from change-pit. Close-up of n14_5_1 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Extra ploughs parked at change-pit. More trams had been moving in one direction than the other.
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Extra ploughs parked at change-pit. More trams had been moving in one direction than the other. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Extra ploughs parked at change-pit. More trams had been moving in one direction than the other. Enlargement of n12_5_3 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
[42] Tooting: just south of the Longley Road change-pit, on the last day of tram operation. The long line of trams was probably going to New Cross to replace older trams that would then be scrapped.
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Tooting: running plough in under tram at Longley Road [45]change-pit. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Tooting: running plough in under tram at change-pit. Enlargement of n14_5_5. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
Notice on window of tram about replacement by bus. Enlargement of n14_5_5. 
 Photographed on  1951-01-06
68 route tram at Waterloo station: the famous Old Vic theatre is in the background. The scruffy buildings on the left are now an up-scale Thai restaurant.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram pointsmen  
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Probably Romney Road Greenwich., looking the other way from n21_4_5
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of n21_1_6 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Woolwich Road, Charlton. The side turning is Rainton Road. This is the point where the LCC electric cars from London met the horse cars from Woolwich. Almost opposite this turning was the LCC central repair depot for trams. This was later used for trolley buses as well, but was not conected to the trolleybus overhead. The bin next to the traction pole was for waste food, for pig swill. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Further toward Woolwich than n21_2_2. Behind the houses on the right is Charlton Athletic football ground. The lefthand side of the road was the Siemens factory. Woolwich road was very industrial: many customers for "workman's special" tickets. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
36 route tram on Woolwich Rd. Enlargement of n21_2_3 (q.v.) 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
The end of Plumstead High Street and Bostal Hill. [1] The view is almost unchanged today: just a few new houses filling bombed-out gaps. To the right just of view is Wickham lane where the 696 trolleybus turned off. The 698 carried on, to turn left a short way up from the bottom of the hill. At this point trams & trolleybuses shared the wires. (see also c0347).
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram on McLeod Road, Abbey Wood. At the end of the road is Knee Hill. The Abbey Wood tram terminus is left at the end of the road. Another left turn takes you to the Abbey Wood tram depot. (routes 36/38/40/44/46/72 and along with New Cross the last depot to operate trams in London). This was the end of the LCC tramway (routes 36/38/40) where it met the cars from Erith. The field in the distance was then in Kent. The overhead at this point was split, the trams and trollybuses eac had their own. Due to the width of the road, trolleybuses and trams could overtake each other here if needed. The 698 trolleybus turned left with the trams then went right on to Erith. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
[1][6]HR/2 type London tram preserved at Chessington Zoo. [1] It is now in fully working order and runs on a short route at the East Anglia Transport Museum near Lowestoft (see
 Photographed on  1954-05-09
HR/2 type London tram preserved at Chessington Zoo: see also text for n35_27.
 Photographed on  1954-05-09
Surrey Docks Station (now Surrey Quays). The East London Branch of the Metropolitan railway passes under Lower Road at this point. The first turning on the left is Plough Lane: up until 1889 this was the boundary between Surrey and Kent. Hence the Surrey Docks. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 68 tram on single track with two conduits, in Everlyn Street, Deptford. The Bridge has gone and the road widened to three lanes: two traffic lanes and one for buses. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 70 tram at the Greenwich Church Street terminus. (same place as n28_3_4, looking the other way). 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 36 tram coming out of Nelson Road to go along Greenwich High Road. The tracks to the left are the ones used by 68/70. This is now one way. The trees in the distance are seen in n28_3_5. Change trams onto 36/38 for the journey to Abbey Wood. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of tram in n21_4_4 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Romney Road Greenwich. To the left, the Royal Naval College (now part of Greenwich University). To the right, the National Maritime Museum, and at the top of the hill, Greenwich Observatory. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of n21_4_5 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 36 tram [21] at Bricklayers Arms/Old Kent Road junction.The area is now the Bricklayers Arms flyover. The tram is entering the Bricklayers arms junction from the Old Kent Rd. The building on the right is the Old Kent Picture house (the billboards for "Coming Attractions" can just be seen) and the white building behind the tram is the Globe Pub. All these buildings have now gone.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tower Bridge, seen from Tooley St.. The 68 tram came from behind the camera along Tower Bridge Road and turned right. The 70 tram crossed from left to right on its way to Greenwich, or the other way to London Bridge .All of the buildings on the right, right up to the river, belonged to The Courage Anchor brewery. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Notice about tram route replacement by bus routes, in Tooley St.  
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
This 68 tram is in Tooley Street. The blocks of flats are still here, probably Peabody Trust. This part of the road is now one-way going East away from London, in the opposite direction from the tram. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 70 tram, probably in the old Jamaica Road area. This area was wiped out around 30 40 years ago with the new Jamaica Road cutting its way through where buildings once stood. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Route 68 tram at the far end of Jamaica Road. The shops on the right were new built and are still there today, as is the church. The entrance to Rotherhithe Tunnel is beyond the tram and church. The road turns right at the point into Lower Road, where today there is an enormous roundabout. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram on route 34 reversing, just south of Battersea Bridge. The route was curtailed to this point because the bridge had been hit by a lighter, and in fact the tram-rails were about the only thing holding up one span. The crossover, and the disconnected spur in the foreground, were originally for a permanent-way yard to the right. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Feltham tram no. 2129 being transported on the A6/A555 
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram 155 on route 84 to Peckham Hill via Walworth Road on the Embankment near Waterloo Bridge. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram no. 176 on route 35, via Kingsway Subway to New X & Forest Hill via Westminster and Walworth Road, at Upper Holloway station, Highgate. Note tram is on conduit, but there are trolleybus wires there also.
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram no. 176 heading from Highgate depot to the start of its run on route 35, via Kingsway Subway to New X & Forest Hill via Westminster and Walworth Road. [40] It has just left the combined tram/trolleybus depot and is on Pemberton Gardens, which leads to St. John's Grove and the Holloway Road junction. The trolleybus wires bear off to the left on what may have been Hargrave Road: this site is now occupied by a school.
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram no. 336 on route 44 [1] at Abbey Wood Depot. This would have been a depot run as the normal terminus of the 44 was Beresford Square, Woolwich. Despite the blind display showing Old Kent Road, the 44 never ventured that far, running only to Middle Park Avenue in Eltham. It was however a via point for routes 36, 38 and 46. No. 336 was an ex-West Ham car. Because of the moulding on the side between decks, they had to have advertisements of a special size, which meant that in July 1952 they were unable to display the 'Last Tram Week' posters. On the right, the outside of Abbey Wood depot is visible, and conversion to a bus garage is under way. It was opened by the LCC in 1910, converted to a bus garage in 1952 and closed in 1981. After demolition housing was erected on the site.
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram 306 waiting to leave for the Embankment, at the end of the line, "The Harrow" inn. Note 3 wires: 2 for trolleybus, 1 for tram. [1] Until 1952, Abbey Wood was only served by electric traction. The Erith Council Tramway terminated at Abbey Wood, where passengers would detram for forward travel to Woolwich and beyond. When taken over by London Transport in 1933 the old Erith route was numbered 98. In November 1935 it was replaced by trolleybus route 698. The trolleybus only lasted a few more years than the tram, being replaced by motor bus in March 1959.
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram 576 on route 46 to Beresford Square at the big roundabout. [1] This is Eltham Green in Eltham, also known as the 'Yorkshire Grey' after the pub seen in the picture, now a drive-in McDonalds. As the terminus for route 44 it was called Middle Park Avenue.
Above the tram you will see two wires. The tram is on the one used by routes 44 & 46 to Eltham, Well Hall and Woolwich. The other wire is used by route 72 which took the quick way to Well Hall and Woolwich.
The LCC had obtained powers to extend the tramway from here to Grove Park along the road behind the tram. Before it could be built London Transport took over with different ideas about trams.
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram 2059 on route 72 to New Cross Gate. [1] Turn 180 degrees from photo c0193 and you see this picture, Well Hall Road. Routes 44, 46 & 72 went from here up the hill across Shooter Hill Road and down the other side to Woolwich.  
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram on route 72 [1] at Well Hall Roundabout, served by Eltham tram routes 44, 46 76, the 44 and 46 going to Eltham and the 72 going along the road seen straight on in the photograph. This was the last piece of major tramway built in London and went from this point to Eltham Green (picture c0191) where it met up again with the 44 and 46. Just off the picture by the trees is the Well Hall Odeon, a well known cinema, now empty. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Enlargement of tram in c0193 
 Photographed on  1951-07-25
Tram 1931 (the one driven by King George V to re-open the Kingsway Subway in 1931) under Charing Cross railway bridge (Hungerford Bridge) on route 40, "Savoy St. Strand". 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram no. 90 at Charing Cross, on the Embankment, on route 36 to Abbey Wood. River Thames is on the right. 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Westminster: interior of London tram, lower deck, with driver. Notice about "London's Last Trams" displayed. Houses of Parliament (Westminster Palace) in background. In Dorothy L. Sayer's book "Clouds of Witness", a taxi with its front tyre shot out spins out of control into a tram parked at this very spot.  
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram no. 1876 on Westminster Bridge, on route 72 to Beresford Sq. Palace of Westminster and clock commonly called "Big Ben" in the background. 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram on route 40 in Lambeth Palace Road: also bus on route 53A to Camden Town 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram in Addington Street, on route 36. WWII bomb damage on left has been grassed over. 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram no. 1921 on route 72, turning out of Addington Street. 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram on route 72 to Savoy St. Strand 
 Photographed on  1952-06-15
Tram no. 169 on route 72 to Savoy St. Strand. Just up the road from Woolwich, the car is just ascending Woolwich New Road. The way back was via Grand Depot Road, seen on the left. This was worked one way. This is in the military area: the building behind the tram is the Garrison Church, bombed during WW2 and later demolished.[1] 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of tram 169 in c0340 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram 1987 on route 46 to City & Southwark, negotiating crowds in Beresford Square. [1] Going through Beresford Square, Woolwich Market, on the one way loop. Beasley's Beer was a local brewery at Plumstead.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram on route 36 to Abbey Wood [1] at New Cross Road. On the right is the bank as seen in c0563. In the photograph is a pedestrian crossing, known originally as Belisha crossings, after Lord Hore-Belisha who introduced pedestrian crossings. By 1951 most crossings had zebra crossing stripes.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of tram in c0342 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram 1995 on route 40 to Savoy St. Strand, coming out of single-track section. Note single track with two conduits [1] in Greenwich High Road. Built by the LCC to generate power for the tramways, after 1952 it was used to provide peak hour support to the main LUL power station at Lots Road, Chelsea. Since October 2002 and the closure of Lots Road, Greenwich is now on standby to provide emergency power supplies to the Underground in the event of a National Network failure. The chimneys have been reduced in height due to conversion from coal to oil and gas operation. The station is now run and maintained by EDF power, and is equipped with Rolls Royce Avon gas turbines which can run on gas or oil. The dome (on the skyline at the left) is one of two which belong to Greenwich Naval College (now Greenwich University).
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Close-up of a track brake on a tram in Beresford Square. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Gas-lit tram/trolleybus stop sign on McLeod road at Basildon Rd. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of the sign shown in c0346. The gas-pipe and shut-off valve are visible. Also, note the 3 overhead wires: 2 for trolleybus, one for tram. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram on route 38 to Embankment via Westminster leaving single-track section in Plumstead High St. Here, there are only 2 wires in each direction: the trams use one of the trolleybus wires. [1] This is the same place as picture n21_2_5, taken from about the middle of that photograph looking back. The bus in the backbround is at Wickham lane (Plumstead Corner).
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Enlargement of tram-stop sign shown in c0347. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram on route 36 to Abbey Wood at Beresford Square. [1] A policeman can just be seen directing traffic: only a cyclist is waiting. The policeman was a feature of the square for many years, ending in the 1980s. Holy Trinity Church (demolished in 1958) can be seen in the background, with the queuing pens alongside. These too lasted until the 1980s.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Ploughman running the plough in under a tram, Woolwich High Street. The conduit from the other direction is just visible at the bottom right of the picture. In the distance is the front of a trolleybus. On the right is the turnout to the Woolwich Ferry Approach, between the two zebra crossings. On the corner the green tea-hut can just be seen. It was a "must" for transport crews in the area. [1]
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Charlton tramatorium. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram 1987 on route 46 to City & Southwark via Eltham negotiating a very peculiar turn-out, coming out of the Beresford Square loop around the corner into Woolwich New Road. [1] The other end of this road is shown in c0340. The wall behind the tram is the one shown in c0353. The building with the gun on (behind the trolleybus) is The Royal Arsenal Gates, which are now preserved and still stand. The trolleybus is on either route 696 or 698. (Is that chap in the brown jacket the same as the one in c0353 coming back with his fish and chips?)
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram 2000 on route 38, running on trolleybus wire, at Beresford Square. [1] Photo taken from the same position as c0349 but looking in the other direction towards Plumstead Road. Everything in the photograph has now disappeared. The 38 and 36 trams were replaced by a 177 bus. Beresford Square was named after the Marquis Beresford, Master-General when the new entrance to the Royal Arsenal (still there, just off the picture to the left) was formed in 1828-30.[1]
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Tram 334 on route 46 from City to Beresford Square, Lewisham & Eltham, at Southwark Bridge. This route to the City terminus was relatively new: the Lord Mayor of London (Colonel Sir William Pryke) drove the first tram across the bridge to open the route on July 20, 1925.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
[1] New Cross. The buildings behind the tram are opposite the tram depot entrance. The tracks coming towards the camera lead to Queen's Road and Peckham. The further set leading to the left continue along New Cross Road around the curve to Old Kent Road. The building on the left is Barclays Bank, seen in picture c0342. It is still there. Next door the church has been demolished and is now a Post Office.
 Photographed on  1951-07-01
Penhall Road tramatorium (where trams were taken to be scrapped), not far away from n21_2_1 along the Woolwich Road towards Woolwich. The yard had overhead wires, though it was in a conduit area. 
 Photographed on  1951-07-01

Return to [London page] [Trains page] [Home page] [About]

This page last updated on 2006-04-19.