Film ID:
YFA 4331

THE SHEFFIELD TRAMS STORY

c.1989

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a comprehensive film on the history of Sheffield trams and the gradual closing of the tram system in the late 1950s up to 1960. It shows in detail all the major routes in Sheffield, describing their history and when they closed. It also shows what happened to the trams after closure. It was made and narrated by a former tram driver.

Opening title - Online Video presents Sheffield Trams.

There is old film of an electric tram passing under a railway bridge.

"Part of the proceeds donated to tramway restoration especially the Sheffield Bus Museum Trust, the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society, the National Tramway Museum at Crich."

The film proper begins showing buses coming down the High Street in Sheffield City, taken from the 'Hole in the Road'. As the film shows Fargate and the Town Hall the commentary gives a background to the old tram system, which closed in 1960. It then shows film of the City Centre from the early 1950s, showing the old trams. Back to the present, there is a billboard for the Sheffield Telegraph declaring jobs for when the new trams are built. The film shows traces of the old tram system, like track work on the Moor, a section box in Church Street and traction poles on Vulcan Road. Then the old depots are shown at Crookes, Shoreham Street, and the old Horse Cart Depot at Healy. It gives a tour at the old Depot at Tinsley, the oldest Horse Cart Depot in Sheffield, now housing buses from the Sheffield Bus Museum Trust, including tram number 460, built in Darnall in 1826. It shows the sign for Queen's Road Tramway Depot.

The commentary provides a detailed history of the tramway in Sheffield, using old photographs and film, beginning with film of the first trams, or cars, from the turn of the century. A horse drawn cart passes in front of the Cathedral, and more trams, called 'cars', are shown in the City Centre. Various numbered cars are used as illustrations, with dates of when they were made. There is film of an ex London County Council 'B' Class, borrowed during the First World War. A photograph shows number 366, the first of the totally enclosed cars. The City Centre is shown from early in the century, with still wide open streets being crossed by many pedestrians, and with lots of tramcars, possibly at the junction of Pinstone Street, Surrey Street and Fargate. A building has 'Singer' written above its entrance.

The film moves on to the 1920s and the numbers 376 and 450, built between 1919 and 1922, and others built in the 1920s. A line of trams are outside a Lipton Store. There is more film of trams in the City Centre, looking down Fargate and onto the Telegraph building on the High Street. A number 144, possibly in the 1930s, is going around the loop at Millhouses, with an advert for 'Magnet' on the side.

Intertitle - Sheffield at War; the Green Livery; Post-War Scenes.

There are scenes taken from the film 'Sheffield at War' (1942), with the rehearsal for a gas attack, and footage of trams, reproduced courtesy of Sheffield Star. It then shows the destroyed tramcars in the Wicker. There is some brief film of a steel works during the war, and then of trams on Pinstone Street, near the Town Hall. Then a tram is passing a badly bombed out area, and a tram, one of ten, purchased from Bradford in 1942. One of these, the 310, is seen in Angel Street in 1950. Another one of these, the 330, has been cut down into a single deck. There are some new models built at Queen's Road between 1950 and 1952 by Charles Morris of Wakefield.

There is an example of one of the green livery buses introduced for a short time between 1952 and 1953. There is much more film of trams in the City Centre during the 1950s as the commentary runs through the process of closure. Showing Sheffield Victoria Station, the commentary notes that British Rail brought in electrification of the Manchester to Sheffield line, via Woodhead, in 1954.

Intertitle - 1954-5 Ecclesall-Middlewood, abandoned 27 March 1954

A tram is shown reversing into the terminus at Ecclesall, and then going onto the Banner Cross extension. Car 435 heads an envoy for Ecclesall. The 196 journeys to Hunters Bar, using the steeply angled turning circle. A 385, going to Holme Lane Depot, is followed by a 65 going away from Hunters Bar, and a 53 travelling to the west of Botanical Road. Two trams are filmed from 246 Ecclesall Road, home of photographer Sean David, filmed with Martin Jefferson on 9.5 mm in 1953/4. Then the 196 leaves town for Ecclesall. It is followed by the 343. At the junction of Ecclesall Road and the Moor there is a motorcycle and sidecar and two men on a tandem. Passengers get on the 244 outside the Town Hall. The film shows the shelter at the top of Angel Street. Near the Holme Depot is a building with various signs written on it, including: 'Grays', 'E. Weston & Sons', and 'Picture Post'.

It then moves on to Middlewood Terminus, before showing Angel Street before and after being re-designed in July 1955.

Intertitle - 1956-7 Intake-Walkley abandoned 7 April 1956. Last 'Rocker Panel' tour, L.R.T.L - 28 April 1957.

Trams are shown going down Pinstone Street, showing the three-bay shelter built in 1933. It shows some trams still without adverts after they had just been introduced. The commentary provides a background to the Intake-Walkley line and its closure. A tramway arrives at Birley Vale on Mansfield Road, with passengers waiting at the island in the middle of the road, filmed by Jack Wise. Then car 144 outbound to Intake, whilst 502 climbs Mansfield Road to Manor Top. Here there is a triangular junction with Princess Road. Tramcars are filmed going up the steep incline on City Road before descending to Birley Vale. Car 3 passes the entrance to City Road Cemetery. The 273 passes St Aidan's Church. 514 and 524 turn from Sheaf Street into Commercial Street. Buses are shown passing the large clock sticking out on the corner, taken by Phil Taff in April 1956. Some is filmed from outside the Midland Station.

At the top of Hounsfield Road the points are operated manually by a worker located in a small hut. 510 and 108 are seen on Crookes Valley Road, where the park can be seen. A tram is shown continuing up towards Walkey. A 296 passes where Crookesmoor Road meets Harcourt Road, and a 506 goes up Barber Road and along South Road, with a 303 reaching Walkley Terminal. Car 177 balances on the summit of Barber Road hump before descending Commonside. The commentary provides an explanation of how the brakes on the tramcars are worked on hills and bends, illustrated by a compulsory Board of Trade stop on the brow of Barber Road.

Buses are shown going down from Manor Top to Birley Vale. Manor Top junction is seen in the summer of 1956 with cars, motorcycles and vans. Two of the four Rockapanel cars that survived their decommissioning in 1956 are filmed, with other enthusiasts present, on 28th April 1956, by Arthur Lees. They are turning from Brown Street onto the single track in Furnival Street, and later into Cherry Street siding, where enthusiasts are waiting to take photographs. Number 42 becomes grounded and needs a push.

Intertitle - Crookes-Handsworth abandoned 4 May 1957, Sheffield Lane Top, via Attercliffe, abandoned 26 October 1957.

More trams are filmed in the City Centre, an inspector gives a wave. The Bell Hotel is seen in the background. Cars for Crookes turn west at Barker's Pool, 'Cole's Corner', up the 729 feet hill, one of the highest points reached for trams in Britain. It being a Sunday, there is a Salvation Band marching besides the 164 on the High Street. A tram passes the terminus at Heavygate Road, and the 270 reaches the highest point on the Sheffield system. There is film of a tram on the steep incline in Crookes taken by Alf Jacob. At Hounsfield Road, the pointsman's hut is disused as a tram turns into Western Bank. There is film by Terry Barker of the Crookes-Handsworth route a month before its abandonment, including the junction of West Street and Leopold Street and Fitzalan Square Commercial Street; Staniforth Road and Darnell Junction and up to Prince of Wales Road. At the top of Crookes Terminus sister cars 483 and 463 pass each other, and we see 199, the last car in service with the old style livery.

Next there is film by Harry Luff of trams between Pitsmoor Junction and Attercliffe Road, with motorcycles and sidecars going by, and the railway bridge at Upworth Street. Then onto the industrial area of Brightside, with a 188 going along Brightside Lane, and another travelling along Newhall Road and Attercliffe Road.

Intertitle - 1958 L.R.T.L. car 189 30 March 1958. Prince of Wales Road abandoned 12 April 1958. Brightside via Savile Street, abandoned 6 Dec. 1958.

On 30th March 1958 enthusiasts board car 189 setting off from Angel Street for a 50 mile tour. There is a photo stop to record the dip under Upwell Street Bridge, filmed by John McCann. The bus is packed, with passengers hanging on the side. It heads up the reserve track, due to close a few days later, up to Manor Top. It is then seen on Prince of Wales Road, and the terminus there. It is shown being filmed by Jim Joyce in 1951, with passengers boarding a tram. It is filmed again in 1957 by Art Jacob. Each traction pole has an identifying number. It shows the segregated track in the middle of Prince of Wales Road, becoming a conventional street highway at Halsall Avenue. Trams pass under Darnell railwaybridge and along Staniforth Road past Cravens factory, on a virtually empty road, and past the junction with Attercliffe Road. The terminus at Fitzalen Square is filmed by Phil Tapin 1957. A tram is filmed on Ladies Bridge from across the River Don and going up the Wicker. The commentary explains the old two fares system in Sheffield.

The section from Hawk Street to Brightside is filmed in 1957 by Bruce Jenkins and Terry Barker, reaching the terminus just before the railway bridge, and then passing through the steel works.

Intertitle - 1959 Sheffield Lane Top via Savile St. abandoned 28 Feb. 1959. Abbey Lane abandoned 28 Feb 1959.

Brightside cars travel at the '12 o'clock junction' and up Brightside Lane, under the two railway bridges, passing Attercliffe Goods Yard. A 203 passes by the junction with Newhall Road in 1958 and under Upwell Bridge. This is followed by film of Terry Barker on 21st February 1959 of a 163 on Newhall Road crossing the River Don. 251 and 68 reverse at Dane Street crossover on Brightside lane. Then it is onto show the Abbey Lane route, filmed from the top deck in 1955 by Jack Wise. It is then filmed in 1957 by Phil Tatt, showing the road sign for Winter Street as the snow falls in Woodseats. In February Terry Barker filmed the 150 at the highest point on the road reservation. Another, a 174, makes its way towards Beauchief terminus, and a 73 going on to Abbey Road South and a 521 at Woodseats.

Shoreham Street depot, the largest in the city, is shown just before closing. The number 251 turns into Fitzalen Square from Commercial Street. A tram turns from Chesterfield Road into Abbey Lane, and then up Wolseley Road, and then up towards Hillsborough and Penistone Road, crossing Hillfort Bridge. A 183 is doing a football special, and 501 is edging into Parkside Road with crowds going to the Sheffield Wednesday match on 14th March 1959. The trams then get into place, in a long line, to take the crowds back after the game.

The film shows films to trams going along Blonk Street and Sheaf Street. A 220 goes into the Sheffield United siding at Cherry Street, then along Shoreham Street. The 503 passes Queen's Road Works, and a 272 at Shoreham Street junctions. A single deck 330 passes in front of the Midland Station. Phil Tatt filmed 107 in 1956 near Pond Street Bus Station, then Fitzalan Square with the cinema and the Bell Hotel, and making its way to Nursery Street and on to Neepsend, filmed by Terry Barker. Two Roberts car are at the end of the single track at Bridge Houses Goods Yard, with a 503 passing the Neepsend Steel and Tool Corporation, with the gas storage containers in the background. Finally the journey moves along Penistone Road and past Hillsborough Stadium.

Intertitle - Meadowhead-Sheffield Lane Top via Heeley and Pitsmoor abandoned 2 April 1960.

Trams are shown in 1960 on Meadowhead and Sheffield Lane Top. Al Jacobs has filmed Woodseats junction in 1958, and further down in Heeley, passing Chesterfield Road. A 242 goes by Woodbank crossover and on to London Road, going past the Palace Cinema, filmed by Jack Wise in 1955, before coming to a halt in front of a worker mending the track with a hand operated grinder. Trams then go the other way, looking out over the valley towards Woodseats junction. A 189 heads towards Spital Hill from Sheffield Lane Top, with film by Harry Luff in 1957, and a 65 on Burngreave Road. Another is seen on Barnsley Road, and a 65 passing Firth Park, passing the junction with Bellhouse Road, through a roundabout and on to Sheffield Lane Top terminus. Some 9.5mm film has been taken on the day the line closed on 2 April 1960, with the last car to use Firth Park crossover, and the last to reverse on Woodbank Crescent on Chesterfield Road.

Intertitle - The final week, the last route, Beauchief-Millhouse-City-Attercliffe-Vulcan Road, abandoned 8 Oct. 1960.

Someone skims through a commemorative paper of the final closure, and there is a final three car tour, with 513 and 510 adorned at Queens Road. Enthusiasts from all over the country and some from abroad gathered to pay their final respects. On view are the illuminated tram and the single decker number 46, shown being restored, with the commentary giving the history of both cars. The final months were filmed by Keith Beardon, including some film of the other road vehicles used in the commemoration. A car is filmed by Bruce Jenkins along Abbeydale Road, with Ecclesall Woods in the background. There is a neo-Georgian bus shelter at Beauchief terminus. A tram passes over the short lived reverser outside Millhouse Park. It makes its way across the roundabout at the foot of the Moor, and on to the junction of Leopold Street and Fargate, filmed in 1957 by Phil Tatt.

Some of the City Centre loading islands are shown, such as the one outside C&As and the Weighing Gate island. It then passes over Lady's Bridge and up the Wicker with the commentary providing a historical background for the route, with a steam engine passing over the railway bridge, and another crossing Norfolk Bridge further along. On to Staniforth Road and then Tinsley and the Weedon Street siding. The track is shown going into Ward's scrapyard, with rail grinder 330. The commentator announces that he has been privileged to drive this car along with number 350, which is also shown. He notes the importance of Edgar Allen & Co., advertised on a bridge, and Hadfields on Vulcan Road, for making rail track. A 522 goes into Vulcan Road siding. Number 231 makes its way through the City Centre on the last afternoon in the drizzle, before it pours with rain at 2 pm, filmed by Keith Beardon. The last car arrives at Tinsley depot filmed by Peter Stoddart and Chris Bennet. The 222 is seen at Millhouses and at Tinsley.

Finally the last tram, illuminated, makes its way in the pouring rain. By 8.19 pm it was all over. It then shows some of the trams that were preserved at Crich, including 189, being transported on a lorry, balanced precariously, filmed by Keith Beardon. The old illuminated car, 349, is taken to Wards on 9th December 1960. Here we see 523, having been burnt out, getting ready to be cut up. But 349 goes on to Crich, where it too eventually suffers the same fate. 350 and 330 are shown being dismantled, with 536 being the last to be scrapped at Wards.

On 17th December, 1961, a horse tram returned to the Moor for a last outing, and this is shown in action.

Intertitle - Preserved Cars

The number 15 is seen in operation at Crichs, as well as 510. At the Beamish Open Air Museum former Sheffield trams 264 and 513 are both shown in operation, filmed by Wilf Watters and M. J. Russel. It is shown again in action in Blackpool in 1985. The film finishes with a brief look again at trams in Sheffield City Centre from the 1950s.

Research, direction and commentary by Martin Jenkins