The Trams

The Far Cotton Tram with the conductress

A tram just turned the corner heading towards St. Marys Terminus. But what are the horses doing?

Here is a tram at the turning point outside St Mary's Church

Here is a tram coming into cotton end from town in 1931

First Electric Tram in Far Cotton

In 1904 Mr George Webb returned from Manchester where he worked for the Electric Gas Co. to Far Cotton to answer the call for skilled men to change from horse drawn trams to electric vehicles. St James to Kingsley and Mercers Row - Wellingborough Road were the first routes to have the new trams and Far Cotton was the last district to be served. This was caused by the refusal of the railway company to allow trams to run over the level crossing at Bridge Street. Far Cotton travellers had to continue to be carried by horse drawn buses and this continues for some time after the electric trams had taken there place on other routes.

The problem was eventually partly solved by towing two trams over the crossing by tractor engine, thus maintaining a service from St Mary's Church Far Cotton to the crossing. Passengers then alighted and walked to the other side to board trams operating from there to the town centre.

The mater was eventually discussed in the House of Commons and a Bill was passed giving the tramway company the right to operate over the crossing. Mr Webb had the distinction of driving the first tram over the Far Cotton - All Saints route on October 3rd 1914, his passengers being Colonel Druitt, a government inspector and committee members.

For a time difficulty also arose over the old station masters house at Cotton End, where the trams had to circumvent an overhanging balcony by means of a special loop-line, until eventually the old building was demolished.

Janet Rolf nee Webb

In 1881 a 3ft 6in gauge horse tramway was opened running from Northampton Town centre at the Parish Church of All Saints, east up Abington Street and along the Kettering Road to the Kingsley Park Hotel, and west, along Gold Street and out toward St James' End. There was also a northerly route to St Georges Terrace, Kingsthorpe Hollow, which was later extended to Kingsthorpe proper in 1883. Subsequently the St James' route was extended along the Weedon Road in 1884 with a new branch constructed in 1893 along the Wellingborough Road to Abington Park. It was worked from a depot in Abington Street on the site of the present Library

In 1897 the Town council decided to takeover the tramway undertaking and for the sum of 38,700, took delivery of 21 tramcars, 3 buses and 100 horses and associated land and buildings. By 1904 the four main routes had been electrified and short extensions at two of the termini had been established. The St James depot was also built at that time. A fifth route out to Far Cotton was opened in 1914 and the trams ran through to 15th December 1934 having been steadily replaced by municipal motor buses from about 1929 onwards. The trams livery was a distinctive vermilion and white.

Taken from "The modern tramway" Nov 1943

Northampton Corporation Tramways

This system was opened for electric tramway operation in July, 1904, with 5 1/2. route-miles (9 1/2. track-miles) on the 3ft. 6in. gauge. An extension to Far Cotton in 1914 completed the system, bringing the route-mileage to 8 1/4. The routes operated are shown diagrammatically on the plan. A cross suburban trolleybus route linking three tram termini was authorised in 1911, but never constructed. Services operated included: -

Kingsthorpe and Far Cotton.
Kingsley and St. James.
Abington and All Saints.
St. James and All Saints.
All Saints and Far Cotton.

The rolling-stock, of crimson and cream livery, appears to have been as follows: -

(as built)
1-20Open top1904ER&TCW22/24Brill 21EDK25B
21,22Open top1905ER&TCW22/24Brill 21EDK25B
2x27 hp
23,24Open top1910UEC22/28Brill 21EDK13B
2x30 hp
25,26Open top1911UEC22/28Brill 21EDK13B
2x30 hp
27-33Balcony top1914Brush22/26Brush 21EDK13B
2x30 hp
34-37Single-deck bogie1921EE42Preston
22E bogies

Balcony top covers (by Brush) were fitted to cars 19 (1923), 5, 10,13 (1925), 20, 21, 22 (1926).

On Monday 29th of August 1932 the trams stopped for a while whilst the track was repaired but by 16th December 1934 the age of the Far Cotton Tram came to an end.

Tram tickets

The construction of the Far Cotton tramway Involved the widening of Bridge Street authorised under the Northampton Corporation Act of 1911 under the Northampton Corporation Act of 1911. The route then became level and crossed first the River Nene at South Bridge and then the LNWR at Bridge Street Station, by a level crossing.

Railroads - 1908 Page 471

Northampton Tramways. - The accounts for the year ended March 31 last show that the receipts were 21940, against 22084 in the previous year, and the working expenses were 13236,

Kellys 1885 Northampton Tramways Co. Office 72 Abington Street. W.C. Elborough sec; William Bignell Elliot , manager.