Tramway Companies A-B. The pagination in this volume increased from 180 to 256 but to our surprise we still could only squeeze in two letters of the alphabet, although 13 tramways are covered. We also added an almost forgotten and overlooked appearance of Henry Hughes “tram engine manufacturer”, before the House of Lords, a reviewer states “What a marvellous witness” for here we have a statement of the steam tramway ‘state of play’ in the mid 1870s.
A few of the chapters have been extended to clarify some material in later volumes which would otherwise be repetitive. Nuggets of almost unknown history exist throughout thus for Accrington we have the whole story of corruption within the Council exposed by the contractors’ bankruptcy and while Burnley had some difficulties with their five early Kitson engines it was owing to the appalling hostility of the County Police and local Magistrates (the hunting, fishing lot who had their own traps and broughams) that their weekly fines following convictions for emitting smoke and steam – often on the flimsiest evidence – exceeded the company’s income and they were forced to abandon steam and try to work their routes by horse which involved such cruelty that even the Council were shamed. The Brighton company was an absolute failure, two Bradford operators were successful out of five, and the Birmingham story is told, unusually, from Council Minute books. The Alford & Sutton is a true oddity and we still cannot really explain why this 2′ 6″ (762mm) gauge tramway was built to meander along country lanes from one small town to another.