Update on Cambridge Horse Car 7 – it’s from Bradford!

Back in August we featured some photos of Cambridge Horse Car 7 which is the next tram restoration project being undertaken at the Ipswich Transport Museum following the completion of Ipswich 33. At the time initial rubbing down of the tram body had confirmed that it was indeed car 7 but not a great deal more was known but in the intervening three months the team working on the tram have discovered a fair amount more – including the fact that before operating in Cambridge the tram was used in Bradford!

As far as was known initially the tram was purchased by Cambridge in 1894 but there was some confusion over its origins as G F Milnes had taken over The Starbuck Company eight years before 7 was delivered but continued to construct trams to the Starbuck pattern for a
few years, however 7 carries a Starbuck Co. builders plate not a Milnes one. The tram is a typical example of an 1880s style lightweight enclosed 18 seat single-deck tramcar with monitor roof and seven side windows, 21’ 8” long by 6’ 1” wide and was converted to an 1890s style open-top double decker. The team undergoing the work on the tram initially thought that the likelihood was that it had already been completed as a single-decker by Starbuck before the take-over and had been unsold and was then converted by Milnes to fulfil the order from Cambridge. But as more rubbing down was undertaken it was discovered this was not the case.

The first key discovery was that there was a fourth livery layer under the three Cambridge ones. This consisted of a blue and cream colour scheme with the cream areas being outlined in blue. Fragments of a company/municipal crest on both sides of the panel beneath the windows was also discovered and the words “No. 3 car” were found on an interior panel and the remains of seating capacity lettering for a single deck car were also discovered. But the most important discovery at this time was the name of a General  Manager on the lower ends of both sides of the body – “John Waugh Gen. Manager”.

Following research it was discovered that John Waugh was C.E & Manager at the Bradford and Shelf Tramway Company and the possibility that the tram thought to be just  Cambridge 7 had originally come from Bradford was confirmed when after further rubbing down a Bradford crest was discovered right in the middle of the Cambridge Street Tramways garter! Add to that evidence that the tram was originally built for operation on a four foot gauge tramway and it would appear that Cambridge 7 was acquired from  Bradford.

It just goes to show that in tram restoration you never quite know what you are going to find and that as you literally rub down the layers there may be a surprise waiting for you!

* More on the history of the tram and what the team involved in restoring the tram have discovered can be found in the comments section of the original news story – http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=1571
(which is where much of the information provided on this page has come from)

Thanks to Stephen Cobb for information contained within this story

(Photo: Stephen Cobb)”]
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6 Responses to Update on Cambridge Horse Car 7 – it’s from Bradford!

  1. w mann says:

    I strongly believe the number 3 car one end and number 3 car two end which are written inside the upper end panels on both ends are manufacture numbers and not a fleet number (it would had to have been written during the making of the tram car as they are well hidden ) but i could be wrong ! Bradford & shelf Trailers (steam tram trailers from day one ) numbers 1-6 & 12 where double deck 58 seats , 7-11 13, 14 where 18 seats. During 1893/94 some of these tram cars were combined to make larger trailers for the Bradford and shelf company by G.F.Milnes leaving a odd car over the date then ties in with Cambridge purchase date of 1894, as to which odd tram car it was it seems to point towards number 8 but as the number was only placed on the dash i don’t think we will ever know for sure as the dashes are missing. If anyone has Bradford & Shelf tramway info & pictures that could help please contact Ipswich Transport Museum .

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    It’s always fascinating what direct investigation of archaeological material )in this case a horse tram or steam tram trailer) turns up. Will this now cause a dilemma for the restorers – Bradford or Cambridge? Nothing still exists of Cambridge tramways except the depot building, the stables (a pub called The Tram Depot) and a small piece of extant track in the yard of that pub, and another piece re-laid with the rails the wrong way round, plus a few pieces of rail cut into 6 inch sections when the depot was converted in the 1980s – one is used as a door-stop in my house. So anything Cambridge is of great vaklue.

  3. Stephen Cobb says:

    The plan is to restore it as a Cambridge car as it is the only surviving example of an East Anglian horse tram, as we are an East Anglian based/themed Museum!
    All of the panels that have been rubbed down to reveal the various adverts and fleetnames (including the Bradford Crest) will not be re-used on the rebuilt car and the intention to remove these panels and conserve them for use as historical displays in their own right showing the background history of the car.

  4. Wow. Just come across this by googling the Bradford & Shelf Tramway. This seems to be a survivor few of us in Leeds/Bradford knew about.

    We would be very interested in coming to see the car, if that may be convenient at some point, and particularly to examine the Bradford identifying markings.

    Perhaps in the future when it is restored as Cambridge 7 it could make a return visit to Bradford?

    Finally (and please excuse that I know very little about Bradford trams; later Leeds buses being more my thing) I am aware that the bulk of the main Bradford system was to 4’0″ gauge, as opposed to 4’8 1/2″. As I say, I do not know what gauge the Bradford & Shelf was, but was Cambrdge standard gauge?

    You are probably aware that our friends the Leeds Transport Historical Society have recently launched Leeds horse tram 107 – more info at http://leedshorsecar107.squarespace.com/

  5. Jamie Guest says:

    Just a quick answer to some of your points James.
    1. All Bradford Tramways were 4′ gauge but they did meet other systems namely Halifax (at 2 places) which was 3′ 6″, West Riding at 2 places, which was standard Gauge, and Leeds at Stanningley. Leeds was standard gauge where there was a section of tapered track which carried through trams for some years which changed gauge en route.

    2. Cambridge 7 has now been identified as having operated in Bath from 1880 until sold to Bradford where it may also have run in Shipley and where it was also converted from single to double deck by having a conversion kit fitted.

    3. Car 7 is in the ipswich Transport Museum and can be seen whenever the museum is open.

    4. the Ipswich group are in contact with the LTHS who are in the process of designing and manufacturing the running gear for cambvridge 7 as it was a standard set of Milnes running gear as fitted to 107.


  6. Wonderful news Jamie. Thanks

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