Transport back in time

A tram makes its way through Heckmondwike.
A tram makes its way through Heckmondwike.

With work on the old tramshed depot at Frost Hill now almost complete, we thought it would be timely to show readers some images of trams in and around the Spen Valley more than a century ago.

Builder Howard Cook has been working on the project which has involved the partial demolition of the building near Vernon Road and the extensive refurbishment which has retained much of its original character. The site will soon be home to brand new business units.

A single deck tram car in the middle of Heckmondwike. Picture taken from Norman Ellis's Trams around Dewsbury and Wakefield.

A single deck tram car in the middle of Heckmondwike. Picture taken from Norman Ellis's Trams around Dewsbury and Wakefield.

Our pictures are taken from historian Norman Ellis’s book, Trams around Dewsbury and Wakefield.

The first photograph shows a group of conductresses who were based at the Frost Hill depot.

During the First World War, tramway services were curtailed because of a shortage of coal – which was needed to produce power – and the call-up of the men who worked on the trams to serve in the forces.

For the first time the Yorkshire Woollen District employed conductors – clippies.

Conductresses who were based at the tram depot at Frost Hill

Conductresses who were based at the tram depot at Frost Hill

This group of conductresses went along to Alfred Henry Ramsden’s studio in Wormald Street, Heckmondwike for their group photo.

Our second picture shows a pristine tramcar number 39 trundling along Westgate, in Heckmondwike, on its way towards Market Place. The destination board shows that it is heading towards Dewsbury. The building advertising itself as a tea and coffee merchant is what we now know as Maughan’s bakers.

The final picture is dated around 1907 and is of Heckmondwike Market Place.

In front of the clock is a single-deck tramcar number 62 and behind it a double decker number 16.

The fomer, showing its destination as Hightown, was part of a batch of six small cars which were bought in 1904. This location was also a starting point for horse-drawn carriages.