Wrexham & District – Transport – Horse-drawn to Trams

Horse-drawn Carriages to Electric Trams

The following is an extract from the slideshow talks previously held by the late Glynn Jones. This is the first batch of slides scanned from approx 600 from his collection. We are extremely grateful to Glynn Jones’s daughter for donating these to our collection. All captions are from Glynn’s original notes which accompanied the slide collection.

Wrexham like most places has quite a history as regards its transport – this is a light-hearted look at some of the transport systems used in the area from the late 1800s onwards.

Glynn Jones.
The first form of transport in any district was obviously horse-drawn.
This is a typical example of private transport that families would use for trips into town, church etc.
A horse-drawn charabanc – this one is pictured in Coedpoeth in 1910 – A Salem Chapel Sunday School outing – around this time there were two operators in the Coedpoeth area, they were Owen Owen’s, Five Crosses and Enoch Blackshaw.
This is another one taken in Coedpoeth, outside the Golden Lion dated mid 1880’s
This one is outside the “Tally Ho” pub in Newbridge. As well as trips these vehicles were used for public transport, very often with no form of timetable.
High Street 1900, showing horse-drawn vehicles.
Horse-drawn vehicles on Station Road, near Union Road junction. St Mary’s Cathedral and Brynyffynnon Chapel in the background.
This is Mr. Meredith of Crane Street, Cefn with his travelling shop & family. Later he formed the Meredith & Jesson Bus Company with his brother in law. Dated 1920.
Another form of horse-drawn transport was the stage coach, this is the Shrewsbury to Chester stage coach in 1910 outside the “Red Lion” Marchwiel. Four coaches ran daily stopping at the Wynnstay for refreshments and a change of horses. The whole journey took over five hours.
In October 1876 a horse-drawn service was started from Johnstown to the cemetery on the outskirts of Wrexham, there was a tool-bar at this point which stopped the trams entering town until November 1876 when this was removed. The service started with two cars, one single decker and one double decker, these were kept in a wooden shed near the “New Inn”. The track was of 3ft gauge, this tram car no2 was built by “star-Buck”.
The company was known as “Wrexham & District Tramway”, 8 years later in June 1884 Mr. Fred Jones bought the rights to operate the tramway. Fred Jones was a Wrexham coal merchant, from 1880 to 1896 he paid £3 a week rent, then from 1896 he paid £200 per annum. He made his last horse-drawn trip on 26th April 1901. When Fred Jones took over the tramway in June 1884 he paid £100 for 6 horses, 2 tramcars, one whip, 2 french horns and assorted lamps. The fare was 3d 5d return and the journey took 45-50 minutes.

In 1898 the original tram company was taken over by “Drake & Gorman” Electric Power & Traction”, who gave noticed that they planned to electrify the tramway. This company was in turn taken over in 1900 by B.E.T. (British Electric Traction), they renamed it “The Wrexham & District Electric Traction co Ltd”. In 1901 the route was extended to the “Turf Hotel”

A tram depot was built at Johnstown and on the 4th April 1903 (after a gap of 2 years) the first electric tram ran from Johnstown to Wrexham, no 8 tram is the 1st electric tram to be delivered to Johnstown.
Some of the trams used consisted of ten double decker open topped tramcars, seating 22 inside & 26 outside. This was car No:5. All the tramcars carried adverts – Holloways & Liptons on this one.
Tram No:4 Advertising wedding rings. Note the lady conductress.
The Johnstown tram depot in 1903. Note the destination boards – Rhostyllen, Johnstown & Wrexham Terminus, Rhos.
The tram staff at Johnstown in 1903. The depot was built by 1902 by Jenkins & Jones. Mr A.A. Hawkins was the manager & Mr George Steen was the Chief Inspector.
Some of the staff in 1917, during WWI most of the tram drivers were called up, the company recruited lady drivers, the general manage Mr. A.A. Hawkins and the chief inspector Mr. Steen are pictured.
The next few slide try to cover the route of the tramway. This is a picture of the Maesgwyn depot in the 1930s when the Crosville Motor Company owned it. The high door on the left was to accommodate the high tramcars.
A modern view of the depot when Dave Bennett & Kwik fit occupied the building.
After leaving the terminus near the “Turf” the trams passed the railway station and then the infirmary which is on the left in this picture.
Next the trams went passed St. Mary’s Church, County Buildings and Church House on the left, the Imperial Hotel on the right, dated 1910.
Now in Regent Street just about to turn into Hill Street with W.H. Smith’s on the right dated 1905.
The tramway came down Hill Street and Vicarage Hill into Brook Street, this tram is about to turn up Vicarage Hill. Houses on the right which became the Odeon, the Albion Brewer is seen at the rear.
Tram about to turn up Bridge Street, Albion Brewery on the right, also McMahon’s fish shop, railway bridge on left was removed in February 1995 it used to carry the Ellesmere to Wrexham branch line, dated 1910.
At the “Highgate Inn” on the top of Bridge Street the road has been lowered to assist the passage of the trams up the hill.
Now passing the “Bowling Green at Penybryn. Note the tram lines and electricity poles.
This tram is at the passing loop by Wrexham Cemetery. The company also ran a short service from the cemetery to the “Turf”. Tram No:8 advertising Elias’s Drapers.
On through Rhostyllen, bound for Johnstown.
The Johnstown depot prior to demolition.

Above: One of the remaining electricity poles.

Above: Traces of the tram lines long after they were replaced by buses.

The track was later extended up Gutter Hill to Rhos, one of the trams descending Gutter Hill near the railway crossing, with the old wagon works on the right. Dated 1920.
Near to the Rhos Terminus at the bottom of Duke Street. No:7 tram advertising for Holloways. The proposed extension to Broad Street, Rhos was did not materialise due to a dispute with the land owner Henry Dennis. Date 1905.

Above: The last electric tram left the “Turf” on Saturday 30th March 1927 at around 11pm. The driver was Mr. Albert Davies.

Part 2. Wrexham & District – Transport – Buses

We will continue the journey soon.

Source of slides and text (late) Glynn Jones. Copyright remains with the original photographer.

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