Copse Road depot consigned to history

Whilst many aspects of the Fylde coast’s tramway heritage are now being preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, it is sad to report that one very notable item has recently been lost. Copse Road Depot, the only such building in Fleetwood, is currently being demolished, after serving as the home of the Fleetwood Car Centre for many years after ceasing to house trams back in the 1960s.

Other than the current tram depots at Rigby Road and Starr Gate, Copse Road was the only surviving tram depot on the Blackpool system and was clearly visible from the tramway itself on the way into Fleetwood. Being in such a prominent location, it was a natural choice of home for the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust’s collection of trams and was for a while earmarked for development as a new museum. Of course this never happened – although the Trust are still hoping to create a new visitor attraction near to the docks – and the car sales unit remained trading until now, as the last occupants of this historic building. Dating from 1897, its poor condition has presumably led to its demolition but this is still a sad end for one of the last surviving remnants of the original Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad Company.

Of interest, the building has retained its original stone wall plaques revealing its history to anyone who may otherwise not have realised its significance. It is to be hoped that these will be recovered as their preservation would at least be some consolation for the loss of the depot itself. A similar stone has already been saved and can be seen at the National Tramway Museum, but wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one kept in Blackpool, and perhaps eventually put on display to the public?

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8 Responses to Copse Road depot consigned to history

  1. tony stevenson says:

    I spoke to the owner yesterday, they are going to try and take the stone plaques down in one piece, for the record I took the one from Bispham depot to Crich on a Ford Transit flat bed.

  2. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    Frankly, I’m surprised the building survived for so long – it’s likely that the owner was embarrassed by its appearance, hence the amount of cladding applied in recent years. Let’s face it, a dilapidated Victorian structure has no place in a slick, modern car dealership – too much of the ‘Arthur Daley’ about it! It’s contemporary steel and glass that impresses the punters, few of whom in all probability have even set foot on a tram, let alone care about tramway heritage. No doubt, the plans that existed to use the premises for a museum had bought a little extra time for the old depot, but with those now dead and buried and the focus of enthusiasts’ attention centred on Rigby Road, Copse Road has, perhaps sadly, ceased to be of great importance in the world of tramway preservation. It is also likely that those tramcars exposed to the elements at Fleetwood Docks will soon follow suit – I’d give them 18 months. Tops!

    • KB says:

      You are obviously not keeping up to date with the facebook pages devoted to the ongoing work taking place on several of the trams currently living in Fleetwood. Maybe a bit of help would be better than the pesimistic outlook.

  3. CTC says:

    Building was completely life expired needing millions with no meaningful purpose. As an enthusiast community we can only stretch resources so far. Personally can only give so much and my money and energy will go into helping Blackpool Heritage Trust establish the premier indoor attraction they and so many of us crave along side the ever expanding tour operation. Hope we can save the name though. Agree with large parts of “Nostalgics” assessment particularly around the depot very surprised its lasted this long. Never seemed like viable site for the FHLT the cold hard facts suggested it was a complete money pit requiring endless finance and the outcome would be a small static museum with limited appeal.

    Regarding other infrastructure its my hope and others that Bispham could well be in line for some money recognising its role as a potential interchange for North Station service (particularly now the proposed service has been published). Its certainly in need of it. Other areas of the Tramway will need looking at as well. Few bits of the old system that remain that we as enthusiast community should work towards schemes that safeguard the assets.

    • Alan says:

      What has happened to the money we gave in good faith to your appeal for the depot doors?

      I gave on the understanding it was for the doors and the doors only. Assuming it still sits in an account somewhere, I would like to see it now go to the Blackpool Heritage fleet.

  4. Kev says:

    What you don’t mention is that without significant work you couldn’t get the Trams in! Nothing wider than a Fleetwood car could pass through the doors.