Despite the temporary departure of London County Council 1 from Crich Tramway Village to receive specialist repairs to its body frame by a specialist firm, the sight of a heavily stripped London tramcar in the museum’s workshop remains with the recently acquired North Metropolitan horse car now being dismantled. Having only arrived at Crich on Saturday 21st May no time was wasted in its deconstruction and within a few days it was barely recognisable!
Having languished in a field at Ilkeston for some 110 years, the horse tram is understandably in a very poor condition and therefore it would seem that it will be reduced to kit form, which will occupy less storage space than retaining it complete. As mentioned before, the roof structure is probably in the best condition and is being retained, but the rest of the bodywork has already been dismantled and much of it will presumably be disposed of as it suffered from severe body rot and woodworm. Indeed, one corner frame of the tram had started to collapse in transit, highlighting the fragility of its condition. The remains are expected to join sister car 184 which is stored at Clay Cross in flat packed condition, with parts of the two likely to be combined at some point in the future to recreate a typical London horse tram.
Meanwhile, away from the museum, LCC 1 remains under attention at Garmendale’s workshop. Despite barely resembling a tram when it left Crich, it has been further stripped with the lower deck side panels and more of the body frame now removed. The top rail has been removed entirely, as part of it had actually broken off during its short road journey! Oddly, the crest on one side (uncovered painstakingly by workshop staff after many hours of determined paint stripping!) was covered up to protect it, even though this panel has since been removed. It is not known what will happen to this panel but presumably it will be preserved as a historic artifact.
Once again, the level of corrosion found on LCC 1 is pretty dreadful and shows just how extensive the restoration process will be. Indeed, the condition of these two London trams suggests that when they are returned to an operable condition, it is likely that they will be anything more than glorified replicas, as so little original material is suitable to be retained on a vehicle that will need to be passed as fit to carry passengers.