Opening of the River extension to Dover Corporation Tramways, on October 2nd, 1905

Opening of the River extension to Dover Corporation Tramways, on October 2nd, 1905

This photo from the writer's collection is a copy of a postcard view showing numbers 21 and 19 trams. Among those in the picture is Harry Elgar who was a keen amateur photographer of some note, living in Tower Hamlets Road. It is understood he used to have a gas-lit photographic enlarger in his basement darkroom. Mr Elgar, in Dover Corporation Tramways uniform is standing on the left of a group of men on the platform of the second tram with his right hand near the brake ( ? ) wheel.

Opposite him, but actually outside the tram's platform is Ted West. In the foreground, standing beside the tramcar No. 21 at the front, are George Wyndham, MP for Dover, Sir William Crundall, 13 times mayor of Dover and at one time Chairman of Dover Harbour Board, and next but one to him, with long grey beard, looks like John Bavington Jones, proprietor and editor of the Dover Express. Seated on the rail of the cab of the same car is Tramways General Manager Edward Carden.

The photo was printed in Mr J.V. Horn's book “The Story of Dover Corporation Tramways,” published in 1955, when the picture was credited to W.J. Wyse, although it is not clear whether or not he was the photographer. (The same picture also appears in the 1975 Book “The Tramways of Kent,” volume 2, which incorporated most of Mr Horn's book.)

It had originally been hoped the tramway might have gone further, at least Sir William hoped so. He was anxious to see further residential development in River Meadows, along the back of Kearsney Abbey, towards Bushy Ruff and the village of Alkham.

For the ceremonial opening of Dover tramway extension, from Buckland Bridge to River Church on October 2, 1905, there was a procession of four brand new cars headed by No. 21. The trams were decked with flags, the leading car driven by Dover's MP the Hon George Wyndham being given special treatment of another kind, when the procession began. When he turned on the current and set off there came three sharp volleys from detonators which had been placed on the rails. This was the signal for loud cheering from spectators lining the first part of the route up Crabble Hill, to witness the inauguration of this popular new service. Only one technical hitch marred the arrangements. The current used by four cars climbing a long gradient proved too much for the system and a fuse was blown. But the party was soon on its way again!

On arrival at Minnis Lane, River, there was more cheering and the M.P. and Dover's Mayor, with other dignitaries, posed for this picture taken by Dover photographer C.S. Harris. There were more volleys from detonators as the party set off back to Dover where the mayor provided light refreshments in the Town Hall and the M.P. proposed a toast to the success of the tramway. In the after-noon 1,200 enthusiasts, keen to tell their grand-children they rode on the trams on the first day, made the trip to River, followed by 2,100 the next day.

Bob Hollingsbee



PROBLEMS with the new-fangled electric trams

PROBLEMS with the new-fangled electric trams:

“Tram problems spook trap horse. “ ( 1897)

Dover's new form of transport, electric trams, was causing a lot of problems in Dover 100 years ago. There were only four trams to start with but in the first week the axle broke on one and the electric current burnt the overhead wires, bringing the whole system to a standstill. The Dover Express was inundated with complaints. But the editor, who had backed the idea of the trams, told readers he thought complaints were somewhat premature.He was quite sure the shortcomings would be rectified very quickly. Mr and Mrs SOLLEY from Ash were hurled from their trap into the gutter when their pony had its first sighting of one of these “new -fangled machines.”

(Dover Express 18.9.1997 page 4, “ 100 years ago “ )



Number 18 Tram at Buckland

Number 18 Tram at Buckland, recently renovated, circa 1918, with five members of staff .



Ray Warner studio photo of former tramway staff c1965 reunion.

Ray Warner studio photo of former tramway staff c1965 reunion.

Left to right are:
back row: H. Cole, F. Bedo, W.H. May, A. Larkin, W. Cottrill, C. George, J. Waller, R.E. George, G.H. Blackburn (guest), F. Pay and F. Clayton;
front: J. Hatton, C. Deverson, A. Else, Miss May Archer (conductress), W.F. Pay, H. Dixon, G. Attwood, James Waller.