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Last updated: 10 April 2020

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

One of the items displayed at the Society’s AGM last month forms the subject of this month’s feature.  It is a poster that advertised Provincial’s Open Day at the company’s Hoeford depot on Saturday 23rd September 1978 (ref PS02554).  The poster extends an invitation by Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Company for the public to visit its premises in Gosport Road between 1100 and 1600.

Interestingly, the event was held ‘to mark the company’s centenary’ but the original parent company, Provincial Tramways, was formed in 1872 and Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Company was established in 1929.  1978 was, instead, the centenary of the parliamentary Bill that resulted in the Gosport Street Tramways Act which, in turn, paved the way for the town’s first tramway to be laid between Gosport Hard and Ann’s Hill along Forton Road.  This horse-drawn tramway opened in July 1882 and was extended to reach Brockhurst in 1883.  It was only when the horse-drawn trams were replaced by electric trams in January 1906 that the service was extended to Fareham.

Visitors to the Open Day at Hoeford were able to see the old tram sheds with original pits; the company’s old offices housed in 1914-18 war huts; new engineering workshops (one side for Provincial, the other for Hants & Dorset); the bus washer and steam cleaner; and the old quay where coal for the power station was unloaded from barges.  Visitors were also given a souvenir ticket which entitled the bearer to a free journey on any Provincial bus boarded before 1800 hrs on that day, plus they had the opportunity to enter a competition to win a two-month Personpass if they could guess the number of passengers that Provincial carried in 1953 (i.e. 25 years before the Open Day).  Sadly, there is no record of the answer to that question although it would be possible to deduce it from records held by the Society!

The lower half of the poster includes an image of Provincial’s Darracq motor bus registered BO 461.  The original print reveals that the photograph was taken at Brockhurst so the bus was working the service from there to Lee-on-the-Solent during the years leading up to the First World War.  As its registration suggests, the Darracq, which was new in 1909, operated originally for Provincial in Cardiff prior to its transfer to Gosport.  By 1915, it had been converted to a lorry for use by the tramways company in Gosport and it was last licensed in 1927.

If any members or non-members have similar material 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.

  First Hampshire & Dorset vehicle movement and news  


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Former-Star Streetlite, 63049 - SK63KJA now rebranded at City Red, seen in Lordhill on 21 March 2020

Photo by James May


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