Bob Hill, one of the leading figures of the Manchester Transport Museum Society and a hugely important person in the tram preservation scene, has sadly died. He was the MTMS President at the time of his passing, and had previously served as the Society’s Chairman on two separate occasions. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and those who worked alongside him at this very sad time.
It is hard to do justice to Bob Hill in a few words, but suffice to say his contributions to British tram preservation will be enjoyed for many years to come. His leadership saw the Heaton Park Tramway through a particularly tough time in its history, ensuring that it not only remained open but also went on to thrive and expand. He has been a regular volunteer at the tramway for many years, primarily using his experience as an electrical engineer in the workshops, although he has also performed many other roles over the years including more direct contact with visitors.
Probably Bob’s greatest contribution was the restoration of Stockport 5, with which he was heavily involved. It was always his belief that trams existed to carry people and his imagination and determination ensured that, what had started off as a cosmetic restoration, ended up creating a fully operational double-deck open-top vehicle. 5 duly spent fifteen years in Blackpool before moving to Heaton Park in 2011, where it has proved exceptionally popular. He also believed that trams requiring further attention to rectify wear and tear as a result of use was entirely appropriate and recreated their past heyday; as such it is a shame that he did not survive to see the current overhaul work on ‘his’ tram, Stockport 5, completed. However, when the tram does finally return to use it will be another lasting tribute to this great man, and the fact that we can enjoy this superb tramcar is a lasting legacy to his passion for trams, and in particular those from the Greater Manchester area. Bob has also done a great deal for trams elsewhere, and played a significant role in the restoration of the Eades Patent Reversible horse car, Manchester L53.
Bob Hill’s funeral will be held next week although it has been requested that attendance is limited to family and close friends – however a memorial event will also take place at the Heaton Park Tramway to celebrate his life on Sunday 5th March, commencing at 1300hrs. His family welcome all to attend and look forward to meeting many of his friends, both old and new, on this day.
Rest in peace Bob, and thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the tramway cause.