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Last updated: 15 February 2019

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

For our first archive feature of 2019, I have chosen a photograph that shows one of Provincial’s earliest vehicles in Gosport.  Taken at the Brockhurst terminus of the horse drawn tramway, it shows one of the double-deck ‘Summer’ cars that were introduced in 1883 (ref PS01424).

Thanks to its inclusion in a nostalgia article in The Hampshire Telegraph and Post in 1935, we know that the photograph was taken in 1897 and that George Felmingham was at the reins.  His conductor, stood to the left of their only passenger, was John Arnold.  On the corner of the building directly behind the horses, it is just possible to discern the signs for Brockhurst Road and Elson Road, so the tram had evidently just arrived at the Brockhurst terminus of the route, before the horses were led to the opposite end of the car for the return journey to Gosport Hard.

Gosport’s horse-drawn tramway commenced operation in July 1882 between the Hard and Ann’s Hill using a fleet of eight single-deck cars.  Following the route’s extension to Brockhurst in early 1883 and the demolition of a low archway through the town’s ramparts, double-deck cars of the type shown in our photograph were introduced from June 1883.  With their open tops and ‘knifeboard’ seats that ran longitudinally along the upper deck, these cars were well-suited for use during the Summer months.  A common practice was to cover the south-facing windows of the cars with a white sheet, as shown in our image, to reflect the sunlight and maintain a tolerable temperature for passengers trying to escape the sun in the saloon.  The original horse trams operated until early 1904 when the line was closed in order to remove the original rails and replace them with sturdier rails to a wider gauge for use ultimately by electric trams.  There was a relatively brief re-appearance of horse trams (to the new wider gauge) between October 1904 and January 1906, after which electric trams were used until their own demise in 1929.

George Felmingham went on to work for Hubert Smith, a Gosport-based operator of horse-drawn brakes and later motor buses who sold his business to Hants & Dorset in September 1924.  Felmingham went with the business to Hants & Dorset and became an Inspector at Gosport until his retirement during the early years of the Second World War.

If any members or non-members have similar images that they would like to donate to the Society or allow to be photographed or scanned, I should be grateful if you would contact me – Chris Richardsen – using e-mail address ProvSocArchive@gmail.com.

  Gosport Buses and Trams  
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Now operating from Hoeford, on Solent Ranger services, (from 19/12) is SK68 TXO an all-white liveried StreetLite Max, one of 3 loaned by Wrightbus to First (the other 2 are with South Yorkshire).

Thought to be numbered 63391 (to be confirmed) the reason for & duration of the loan are unknown

(Mays Lane, Stubbington)

Photo by Malcolm Audsley 21 Dec 18


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