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Bench Street Tram

Tram No. 4, Bench Street Glass slide, circa 1900

The tram which can be seen in the photograph passing down Dover's Bench Street was one of the original batch of 10 tram cars purchased in 1897.

 The tram would have had a livery of Medina green and ivory.

The car in the image was scrapped in 1927.

Courts the Wine Merchants can be seen on the right. Founded in 1807 in Snargate St. by Stephen Court, Courts closed shortly after 1900 following the retirement of the sixth generation Court to run the business, Stephen junior. For more information about Courts, please see the Information Resources section of this website.

Dover Corporation Trams

Dover Corporation Electric Trams were installed in 1897. In the late nineteenth century, Dover was becoming bigger and bigger, spreading up to three miles up the Dour Valley. The new trams provided a much needed source of transport through the town.

The system of Dover Corporation Tramways were developed to serve the expanding town along the valley of the Dour, which was previously served only by privately owned horse buses. Not all of the originally proposed tramways were given authorisation, with the original network stretching from the Pier District along the seafront to East Cliff, through town and along the valley to Crabble, and out along the Folkestone Road to the Maxton depot. In July 1896, a report was prepared looking into the different trams available and electric powered trams were decided upon. The contract was won by Dick, Kerr & Co. Ltd for the supply of the trains and the rails, and the laying of the lines by J. J. Briggs& Co. of Blackburn.

Once the first track was laid between Buckland Bridge and Harbour Station trial runs were carried out for the drivers in September 1897; the line was officially opened on the sixth of September, running three cars from the 7th. Over the next few months the other lines were opened up at Crosswall, Folkestone Road and Maxton.

The first routes to be authorised were :

  • From the Pier to Buckland Bridge : This was the main line laid through the length of the town from the South Eastern station to Buckland Bridge. It was later extended from Buckland Bridge through Crabble to River Church in 1905.
  • From Biggin Street through Worthington Street to Maxton:
  • From New Bridge to East Cliff.

The first tramways were opened to the public, after an initial cost of £27700, on the 6th of September 1897, by Mayor Alderman Henry Minter Baker.

The first several years of the tram service proved popular, successful and profitable.

Source: John Bavington Jones: Dover, A Perambulation of the Town, Port and Fortress. pp.294-296

See also: J. V. Horn, The Story of the Dover Corporation Tramways, 1897 - 1936, 1955

The proposed tramways are detailed in The Tramways of Kent, Volume 2 - East Kent, by 'Invicta', 1975, p 284-6.




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