Last March we ran one of our “Lost Trams” series on two Wrexham tram bodies which are at Bersham Colliery where they have been stored in the open for around 16 years. Now, 12 months on and Wrexham Museum are starting to consider various options for their future – which could include restoring them cosmetically, donating them to another more specialist museum or doing nothing.
It is thought that the two trams are nos. 4 and 6 and were built as part of the batch of 10 trams built in 1903 by Brush. The Wrexham system opened on 4th April 1903 and would close just 24 years later on 31st March 1927. At the time of closure many of the tram bodies were sold off for further use, and these two bodies had initially been rescued in 1970 by Alf Strange who had the intention of restoring them. Unfortunately, no work took place on them and they were discovered at Brow Golf Club, Ellesmere which is from where Wrexham Museums acquired them in 2005.
Transported to Bersham Colliery they have remained stored out in the open since and a new report states they are deteriorating rapidly due to the effects of exposure to the weather and vandalism. Previously it was said that one was in a better condition that the other but they are now described as both being in an equally poor condition.
The report says: “The primary structure is in reasonable condition, and it is likely that sufficient historic timber could be reclaimed from the two bodies to construct the frame of a static exhibit, together with some of the interior and exterior panelling. One of the tramcars retains a significant amount of the internal timberwork. This shows that the sides were panelled with timber below the seat level and covered by oilcloth-covered timber laths above this level. It is probable that the interior was originally finished in mahogany. The second tramcar appears to retain traces of a residential conversion, including wallpaper. Only one of the original main windows has survived: these were clear and plain. The clerestory windows were significantly more ornate, and examples of both coloured and patterned glass survive, although the latter may postdate the conversion into a holiday cottage. Unfortunately, these have suffered very badly from vandalism in the past few years, and almost all these historic windows have now been damaged beyond repair. Both tram cars have reached the stage where the rate of deterioration will now start to increase rapidly due to the loss of paint and increased exposure to the elements. Their current situation is unlikely to last for more than a few years.”
Taking this report into consideration Wrexham Museum are now starting to consult over what to do with the trams which could see them having a much brighter prospect – or the complete opposite of a brighter prospect! A number of different options are being considered which is where the public come in with both a questionnaire and a Zoom seminar coming up to make your voice heard.
The different options being considered are:
- Do Nothing
- Donate Tram Car to specialist museum
- Consolidate and conserve existing structure
- Cosmetically restore to original appearance as an operating tram for interior static display
- Cosmetically restore to original appearance as an operating tram. As an interactive experience
- Cosmetically restore either as an operating tram or as a holiday cottage, and use either as seating for the café or display within the shop
- Cosmetically restore as a holiday cottage for display
- Restore to running condition in Wrexham
- Restore to running condition and donate to another museum
- Restore as a horse tram
- Restore as a holiday cottage for rental
Deciding the preferred option of what to do with the trams would just be the first stage of this project as there would then be a question of how it would be achieved (including the ever popular question of funding) and then where the tram would end up (one option could see the trams just put in storage with no public access).
It remains to be seen what may happen but if you want put your opinions forward there are two ways you can get involved:
- Complete the questionnaire at http://www.yourvoicewrexham.net/kms/elab.aspx?noip=1&CampaignId=1235
- Attend a Zoom seminar on Wednesday 31st March between 1900 and 2030 – to register to attend please visit http://www.yourvoicewrexham.net/kms/elab.aspx?noip=1&CampaignId=1238
* To see more on the trams why not take a look at our Lost Trams article from March 2020 at http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/news/?p=32934