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Last updated: 16 December 2018

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For the festive season, I have selected digital images of three documents that transport us back 90 years to Christmas Day 1928.  At that time, Provincial was still operating trams in Gosport and Fareham and this was set to continue for another year.  In parallel, the company had re-introduced motor buses in January 1928, having relinquished its Lower Swanwick service to Hants & Dorset almost three and a half years previously.

The digital images are extracted from a collection of 151 scans of Gosport & Fareham Tramways documents kindly loaned to the Society by member Bob Gray.  The first (top left) is a newspaper cutting that notifies the public that omnibus services would be entirely suspended on Christmas Day (ref PS04809-096).  At that time, Provincial had two bus routes from Gosport Ferry – one to Brockhurst (via Stoke Road) and another to Fareham, the latter having been taken over from Charles Hawkins in September 1928.  In the absence of buses, the company operated its two tram routes with a ‘quarter’ (15-minute) service on the main line to Fareham and a 12-minute service on ‘the Avenue route’ to Bury Cross.

The second document (bottom left) shows the ‘Duties for Christmas Day 25th Dec 1928’ (ref PS04809-099).  This lists the names of the motormen (tram drivers) and conductors for each of the tram cars operating on the two routes.  For each crew, times are given for signing on (at the depot), commencing the duty, returning to the depot and signing off.  Given the reduced running hours on Christmas Day with a relatively late start and early finish, the lengths of the duties are correspondingly short, varying between 5 hours 40 mins and 7 hours 20 mins.

Two of the motormen listed are of particular interest.  Motorman Stanton (Ernest Edward Stanton) was the son of the landlord of the Bell Tavern (on the corner of Gosport High Street and North Cross Street) and joined the tramways after serving as a merchant seaman in the Shaw, Savill and Albion cargo ship SS Tainui.  It was Stanton who was captured in the well-known photograph of car number 8 operating on the Ann’s Hill route on the final day of tram operation in Gosport (31st December 1929).  Replacing Stanton on our duty roster was motorman Dorey.  William John Dorey joined the tramways in 1911 and, like Stanton, served until the trams’ demise in 1929.  Whereas Stanton left the company at that time, Dorey was re-trained by a Portsmouth school of motoring to drive buses and was destined to remain with the company until his retirement in 1964 at the age of 70.  Dorey was a member of the Home Guard platoon at Hoeford during the Second World War and spent part of his driving career in the late 1950s on Provincial’s Fawley contract.

The third and final document (right) details each duty, providing the departure times of each car from each terminus during the course of the day (ref PS04809-097).  Five cars (designated A to E) were allocated to the main line service between Gosport and Fareham in order to maintain the 15-minute service whereas only two cars (designated R and S) were required to deliver the 12-minute service on the Avenue route.  Meticulous records were kept of running hours and distances and the totals are summarised at the base of the document.  The seven cars operated for a total of 44.5 hours, covering a combined distance of 402 miles in just one day, the equivalent of driving from Gosport to the Scottish Borders!

If any members or non-members have similar documents 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.

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First Reds Charity Drive Sees Bus Drivers Swap Uniform for Santa Jumpers & Unique 1940s Vintage Bus Service operate on 14 December & Christmas Eve. Further details can be found on First Southampton website



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Another vehicle for the Society's collection.

On Monday 10 December 2018, Dennis Dart no. 42728 (T728 REU) was handed over to the Chairman at Hoeford depot as a donation from First Hampshire & Dorset to the Society's collection of preserved vehicles. Since 2005, this bus has been running in the Solent area, although it started life in Bath where it was first registered in March 1999. Until February 2018, it as used for one year on the Portsmouth University service U2, but not in public service as it was not DDA compliant. The road tax ran out so the bus was registered SORN. This meant that we had to book an MOT in order to travel on the public highway. This was done and 42728 passed and is now waiting to be taxed. This image shows the bus leaving Hoeford for the last time when collected by us and driven away by Darren Smith. (Member and Dart Project Leader).

Photo by John Sherwin


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