Manchester 173 – Your Country Needs You!

Manchester 173 – owned by the Manchester Transport Museum Society and a recent arrival at the Heaton Park Tramway – is to visit Morley, Leeds on Saturday 2nd August where it will be decorated as a recruiting tram to form the centrepiece of a Weekend of Remembrance to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

The Morley Chamber of Trade wished to recreate a recruiting tram that ran in Leeds during the early part of the war as part of the weekend’s commemorations and after negotiations facilitated by the Leeds Transport Historical Society (LTHS) the Manchester Transport Museum Society agreed to allow 173 to make the trip by low loader for one day only. Manchester 173 will be decorated in patriotic colours and recruiting posters as per the original recruiting tram which was seen around the Leeds tramway society throughout the First World War.

173 will be decorated before departing Manchester and will remain on the low loader during its visit to Morley with the display being open to the public between 1000 and 1600. The tram will be displayed in Windsor Court next to Morley Town Hall and the LTHS will also be having a sales stall alongside 173 with items from the Heaton Park Tramway also be on sale.

173 will be the first tram to visit Morley since the last Leeds tram ran back from Morley to Leeds on 23rd January 1935 after the closure of the tram system, The Morley tramways system was owned by Morley Corporation but operated by Leeds City Tramways with a depot in Worrall Street and termini on the A650 at Tingley Mill and Bruntcliffe Crossroads. The last passenger car on 22nd January 1935 was open balcony car 358 which ran to Fountain Street at 2318, the final cars then returned to Worrall Street depot that night before heading back to Swinegate the following day. The depot actually survived until 2012 when it was demolished and has now been replaced by housing.

Once 173 has played its starring role at Morley it will return to Manchester’s Heaton Park Tramway and there is a possibility that the tram may also play a role in an event in Manchester during September.

Manchester 173 seen inside the new Lakeside Depot at the Heaton Park Tramway. (Photo courtesy of Leeds Transport Historical Society)

And this is the sort of thing which 173 will be turned into on 2nd August. (Photo courtesy of Leeds Libraries & Information Service)

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15 Responses to Manchester 173 – Your Country Needs You!

  1. Christopher Callan says:

    Very innovative project to commemorate a very important chapter in world history. This novel and very clever display will no doubt act as excellent showcase showing both societies to potentially untapped potential supporters. A very good PR exercise that no doubt will have a very positive impact on both working groups.

    Excellent initiative. Congratulations to both societies who have no doubt worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen. Id love to think the LTHS will use projects like this to go for bigger and better things and the right the wrongs of the past in terms of the failed Middleton scheme. Honestly think it would be excellent place to house a small collection and follow Heaton Park Tramway very prosperous path to success. The LTHS have demonstrated they can work to the very highest of operational standards with their fantastic work on Tramcar Leeds Horse Tram 107 so have no doubt they have the skills and expertise to establish a revised Middleton scheme. Id love to think they are setting off on that path particularly against the backdrop of 602 & 107 current life at Crich Tramway Village. They key would be to start small and allow people to feel part of the journey very much embracing the Heaton Park ethos.

  2. Frank Gradwell says:

    Street Market – Live Entertainment!

    No criticism of 173 replicating what did occur, but the flyer above is simply not about remembrance, its shallow, tasteless, typical of corporate band wagon jumpers, and exactly the sort of thing that should not take place to remember this black shadow over the early twentieth century.

    At our own memorial on Werneth Low on the 3rd, we are having a commemoration with no bands, no hymns, just readings and thoughts as to what happened in those dreadful years and led to the loss of 710 men from the little mill town of Hyde.

    • Nathan says:

      And which one do you think Joe Public would rather go to? I’m sorry if you think it is disrespectful, but this is how remembrance events work nowadays. A lot of the WW2 ones are simply outright parties! Off topic debate over, it is fantastic of Heaton Park to enable 173 to go on display, perhaps they should put a donation box next to it to help finance it’s eventual restoration?

  3. Colin says:

    Totally, totally agree with Frank. We’re talking about a war, four years where thousands lost their lives, many in the most terrible circumstances. The Morley weekend appears to have everything we’ve come to expect from an event organised by the commercial sector. Listing a remembrance service as very the last item on their poster probably says it all. It certainly won’t, for me, as Christopher Callan writes, be a positive PR exercise for the working groups. They could have done it with far more sensitivity. But we now live in a commercial, profit-led society.

  4. neil says:

    Further to Frank’s comments, one could argue that the mindset of ‘corporate band wagon jumpers’ re wartime commemorative events is not that far from the Crich 1940s events, which are effectively ‘let’s play at war’ events. People die in war, people suffer in war, but those who dress up as soldiers for the weekend, whilst undeniably enthusiastic and enjoying themselves, do little to reflect the true horrors. It’s all very sanitised. But there you go, it’s a popular day out and apparently accounts for a major part of Crich’s income, so it must be good!

  5. Jamie Guest says:

    I must take issue with the two comments above and try and add some clarity. The initiative and drive for this came from a group of forces verterans who are all members of the Royal British Legion. The leader of the group is an 80+ year old who is a former Leeds tram conductor. they formed a group and applied for lottery funding, which is paying for the substantial expenses involved in getting the tram into position and decorating it. They needed backing from the town and the Chamber of trade came on board and have helped with all the essential items such as road closures, trafic control, insurance etc. The drive was not commercial. It may appear like that from the logo but that was not the original idea. The decorations will be left on the tram so that it can be used in another event in Heaton Park, which was itself one of the campsites where the volunteers were given their initial training, including my great uncle who was killed at Arras. If I had thought that the main drive was purely commercial I would not have got involved.

    Jamie

  6. John Whitehouse says:

    To add to what Jamie said, we at Heaton Park would not be involved if we didn’t believe it appropriate. Everything in the 21st Century has a commercial feel, it has to to get people there! Don’t forget that we are not only commemorating the events of the Great war but the huge recruitment drive and local pride of people who joined up. There are 4 years to remember the events which happened and which were not as expected by those who initially signed up. There was a general party feel about joining up and setting off to war with your chums in 1914.

  7. Colin Smith says:

    I can see both sides of this argument. My uncle was killed in France in April 1918 at the age of 24. I have no idea whether he had been involved in the Manchester Regiment at the outset of the war. What I do know is that he worked for Manchester Corporation Tramways Department, starting as a “Trolley Boy.” There is, therefore, a possibility that he worked on 173 and I find it fitting that his sacrifice and that of so many others involved in tramways at that time should be commemorated in this way. If it takes commercialism to get folks out there in the first instance then so what. Once there they will learn something of the sacrifice made by these guys as well as witnessing the amazing work being undertaken by both the MTMS and the LTHS.

  8. Frank Gradwell says:

    Talk to an ex soldier, sailor or airman and see what their take is. Our ex navy member won’t even attend the remembrance, so strong are his feelings.

    I’m sorry – but commercialism has NO place in this commemoration.

  9. Ian B says:

    I totally agree with Frank. Both my granddads were badly injured in the “Great” war. One worked for LUT, left at 17 and when he came back from the war and had recovered was taken back on at 21 with 17 year olds wages with his service considered a break in service by LUT, perhaps we should be remembering the way that those who were lucky to survive were treated when they came home, this is on topic as a tramway company was involved. Both of them would have been appalled at the way the war is being “celebrated” but as they are dead they can’t speak for themselves. I personally want nothing to do with all of this glorification of war in any form. But that’s my opinion.

  10. Nigel Pennick says:

    The Union Flag on 173 was upside down!

    • Paul D says:

      eh?? the event isn’t for another week and 173 hasn’t been decorated yet so how can it be upside down??

      • Tommy Carr says:

        Nigel means the tram in the black and white photo above.

        • Colin Smith says:

          It’s not upside down on the black & white picture. If you enlarge that shot, there is a white stripe visible on the right hand edge of the flag. The stripe is actually a sleeve to accommodate the pole. Then look at the flag again. The broad white diagonal stripe is at the top next to where the pole would be. So, right way up!

  11. JOHN says:

    For the majority of the general public these events are so remote as to almost be meaningless lines in a textbook. For me it is 3 generations ago as my Great Grandad fought in it. Very few people are alive who remember it. For this reason an element of commercialism is inevitable to draw people’s attention to it. Hopefully they will see it, visit and learn something from it. It isn’t intended to be disrespectful – all are free to remember/commemmorate in their own way.