Two artefacts from the collection of the Manchester Transport Museum Society appeared on primetime television within a three day period. Although the Society and the heritage tramway at Heaton Park, Manchester were not promoted as such this was nonetheless a treat for the organisation’s supporters, and as trams rarely feature on mainstream television it was most unusual to have two appearances so close together!
The first programme to feature a tram was an hour-long documentary programme broadcast on BBC2 on Friday 13th April at 9:00pm. Entitled ‘Brick By Brick: Rebuilding Our Past’, this episode focussed on the recreation of a traditional coal-fired fish and chip shop at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North. Naturally some shots showing other attractions at the museum were included, one of which featured Manchester 765! This was a welcome but totally unexpected surprise as 765 only spent a short period of time at Beamish, when it visited for the Great North Steam Fair around one year ago.
As if that wasn’t enough, MTMS Chairman Alex Gray had a starring role on BBC1′s ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on the evening of Sunday 15th April. Obviously a full-size tram couldn’t be taken for valuing, but instead Alex showed a large scale model of an Eades reversible horse tram to one of the experts present who then gave his opinion regarding its likely value. The item in question is an original design model and in fairness, could arguably be considered priceless as it is thought to be the only one of its kind in existence. However, the model tram made a welcome change from the usual pottery and furniture seen on antiques programmes, and it was also pleasing that Mr Gray was able to mention the fact that the Society’s collection also includes the only full-sized Eades tram in operational condition anywhere in the world. Please remember though that the tram in question, Manchester L53, is currently on static display at Bury and has not run since 2010 when it last visited Beamish Museum, although hopefully at some point in the future it will see further service at Heaton Park.