For a tramway which closed in 1936 Bournemouth Corporation Tramways has a remarkable number of surviving tram bodies (13 are known about although the majority are not exactly in sparkling condition). Most readers on this website will know about 106 which has been converted into Seaton’s no. 16 and there is also no. 85 which remains in Christchurch at the long closed Museum of Electricity. But now another tram from the then Hampshire coastal town has had some love and attention and is now in use as an office and design studio!
The tram body in question is that of 113 which was the first of batch of 20 trams built by Brush for Bournemouth between 1924 and 1926 and it would have a very short operating career with the last of the tram routes being closed in April 1936 and converted to trolleybus operation. Five of this batch were sold on to Llandudno but 113 was not one of these and like so many other redundant trams across the UK it was sold on and eventually found its way to a farm in Milton Abbas. It was there that it was found by Plankrbridge, a company who specialise in making and restoring shepherd’s huts. Representatives from the company were at the farm looking to restore a shepherd’s hut when the derelict tram caught the eye of their co-owner and founder Richard Lee.
Richard takes up the story: “We bought the tram from a farmer in Milton Abbas, when we were there looking at a shepherd’s hut to restore. The tram was in need of a good home and I instantly saw its potential as a useful modern space. Many of the original features are still intact, such as the ‘please don’t spit in the carriage’ sign, so I wanted to preserve these moments of the past while adapting the interior into a useful office space without impacting on the original structure. One day I would like to tidy up the exterior and perhaps recreate the sign writing on the sides, but it is already providing a great space for me to retreat to, with all new Plankbridge shepherd’s hut designs now coming through tram 113’s doors.”
The interior of the tram has been restored and is now in use as an office and design studio. In the long-term there is a hope that the exterior will also be restored but in the meantime the tram body is safe and has a new use, some 91 years after it was built!