Barry’s restoration dream for old horse-drawn tram

editorial image
Chinese witch hazel.

BRIAN KIDD: Love the scent, but what's the shrub?

Have your say

You may remember on April 14 that I asked if anyone knew of a former Portsmouth horse-drawn tram that ended up on the Isle of Wight.

Barry Cox, the author of Portsmouth Trolleybuses, is researching a new book and was looking for it.

Well, I’m glad to say we’ve come up trumps yet again thanks to Remember When readers.

The tram was in a garden at Denmead for 70 years and in 1970 the council, assisted by naval personnel from HMS St George Special Duties Officers’ School at Eastney, moved it to the city museum store at Hilsea.

At the time it was hoped that a museum of transport would be built, but that never came to fruition.

It’s believed the tram was bought for £100 and used as an extra bedroom and summerhouse.

It was purchased by William Chamberlain of Denmead and set up in his garden on brick pillars.

The car, as trams were called, was formerly no 58 and William’s grandson, Anthony, who lives at Widley, has some marvellous photographs of it.

Also in his possession is one of the former decorated side window lights. During the war the tram was used as a bedroom and mess room for the local Home Guard. Its final use was as a greenhouse.

The passengers sat lengthways along the side of the tram and it could accommodate about 20 sitting with several standing.

Portsmouth Council purchased the tram for £50 in 1970, but somewhere along the line it ended up in Brickfields Horse Country on the Isle of Wight. It remained there rotting away over the years and even had a tree growing through the roof.

Somehow Barry and his associates are hoping to either restore it or make a copy. I wish them well.